Top of the Morning, Aug. 29, 2018

Top of the Morning, Aug. 29, 2018

More than a quarter-century after the dedication of TOMMY STEWART Stewart Field, the son of the late legendary Champaign high school coach will do the honors again.

TOM STEWART JR., who played for his dad at Central, will cut the ribbon at Friday's grand-opening pregame ceremony at the refurbished complex to the west of Centennial High School.

"It'll be a throwback," Tom Jr. said.

The Champaign school district appropriately reached out to Tom Jr., now 64 and living in Joliet. He wasn't able to attend the initial dedication ceremony in the early 1990s but has watched it several times on YouTube.

"Dad was a very humble guy who didn't like attention," said Tom Jr., who last attended a game at his dad's field in 2005. "He was a giant among giants."

In a 31-year coaching run at Champaign and Central high schools — the Hall of Famer retired after the '83 season — Tommy Stewart went 199-74-10. He passed away in 2012.

Friday's event — before Central and Centennial square off — is to spotlight the field's new look. Artificial turf has replaced natural grass, a switch that doesn't sit well with some old-school types.

"Honestly," Tom Jr. said, "Dad, I think, would have preferred grass."