By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Aug. 27 — On Thursday night, the Page County School Board voted unanimously to accept a recommendation from nine individuals who wanted to rename the football and track facility at Page County High School “Buddy Comer Stadium at Panther Field.”
“As a diverse cross section of the Page County community, we feel now is the appropriate time to consider this due to Buddy’s recent passing and his intense dedication to Page County High School and the community,” reads the request to the school board signed by a group of current and former coaches, athletic directors, community members and alumni — including Jim Burke, Aaron Cubbage, Frankie Comer, Chris Hall, Kevin Morris, Deborah Norton, Stan Price, William Simmons and Bobbie Hilliard.
Vincent Junior “Buddy” Comer coached football and track in a career that spanned nearly a half century. He is considered the “winningest football and track coach in Page County High School history,” according to the request, with multiple district and regional championships, and one state championship to his credit. Comer died April 8, 2021 at his home in Shenandoah. He was 79.
Although no school board members commented Thursday night about the naming, they all quickly supported the recommendation, moving the request from an information item to an action item during the meeting in order to prevent any further delay in its approval. Originally, final approval was planned for September.
PCHS Athletic Director Bill Simmons stated in a press release issued after the school boar meeting that, “the presentation and unveiling of the new facility name will occur at the Page County High School Homecoming football game, currently scheduled for September 24, 2021 at 7 p.m.”
In 2001, Buddy Comer was inducted in the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame as a representative of Page County High School and as a contributor for his work as a coach and an official. He was well known for officiating and umpiring all across the northern Shenandoah Valley for decades, overseeing more than 50 combined state semi-finals and championships in basketball, baseball and softball.
In 2003, Comer was inducted into the Bridgewater College Hall of Fame.
Comer’s first coaching job was in 1961 as the junior varsity basketball coach at Shenandoah High School, his alma mater. The next year, he and his brother Wayne (the current PCHS baseball coach), signed professional baseball contracts with the Washington Senators. After returning to Bridgewater College and graduating in 1965, he was named the head boys basketball coach at Page County High School; a position he held until 1969.
Buddy Comer then moved to Albemarle High School and became the assistant boys basketball and head track coach. In 1970, he moved to Luray High School where he held the title of head boys basketball coach and in 1971 won the state Group A basketball championship, defeating Thomas Walker 62-49 in the final game.
In 1971, Comer moved to Bridgewater College where he served as head baseball coach for one year. In 1972, he moved back to Page County as head boys basketball coach until 1975, when he moved into administration.
In 1980, he moved to Spotswood High School, where he became the first Director of Athletics in school history. In 1981, he moved back to Page County High School to become the head football coach and boys track coach. He held the position of head football coach until 1995. In 2001, his boys track team won the state Group A championship.
Buddy retired from coaching in 2008, but went on to continue serving PCHS and the community until his death earlier this year. He held many honors and was named coach of the year on many different occasions at the district, regional and state levels.
“This naming is a reflection of Buddy’s deep dedication to the athletics at Page County High School and our community,” Simmons stated in Thursday night’s press release.
The school board amended its rules for naming school buildings and facilities Thursday night just prior to approving “Buddy Comer Stadium.” Previously, the rules stated that “no school or school facility will be named for a living individual. Schools and school facilities may be named for individuals who have been deceased for at least 10 years.” The school board voted unanimously to amend the rule to allow naming a facility at any time, with unanimous approval of the board. The policy had not been revised since May 26, 2015.
To check schedules, rosters, results and standings for local high school sports,
see the Bull Run District website.