Oldham County High School announced on August 23 that it would rename its football stadium in honor of the late Colonel, athletics superfan and coach Kris Landers.
“He loved everyone who played here, he knew everyone and he truly embodied what Oldham County is as a school, as a community, as a sports program. She was such a good person that you would never want to meet, ”said Oldham County athletic director David Letendre. “This is what we want to emphasize in our sports programs and in the school community. “
The school board unanimously voted to change the stadium name from “Bell Field” to “Bell Field at Kris Landers Stadium” after the sports department received the blessing of the Bell family.
“They gave us their blessing, and we are grateful to them,” Letendre said. “We also hope to bring the Bell Field monument closer to the entrance and make it more visible as well.
Landers, who graduated from OCHS in 1992, spent more than 30 years on the sidelines in various roles before his death on August 17, 2020.
“To say he was a fixture on the sidelines is an understatement,” Letendre said. “The fact that the stadium bears his name truly reflects the community’s passion for our sports programs. “
While primarily working with football and basketball programs, Landers’ sister Kim Cox said he was connected to the sporting world of OCHS.
“He didn’t go to a lot of baseball games, tennis games, etc., but he always knew what was going on with each one,” Cox said.
One of Landers’ most common roles was as a motivational speaker for players.
“Kris has always been the type to give half-time speeches or speeches after the game,” Letendre said. (Former football coach Michael) Fox explained that in all of his years of training and teaching he had never seen a coach who could talk and an entire team of high school students would stop. and listened. It was the respect they had for Kris and the passion he had for the community.
Landers’ unwavering support for Oldham County sports earned him a place in the 2020 OCHS Hall of Fame class, which was inducted earlier this month.
His legacy of help has survived him as several members of the community, including Letendre and Cox, founded the Kris Landers Foundation, which awarded four $ 1,000 scholarships to students at Oldham County schools last winter. .
“A lot of people reached out and said, ‘We don’t want to forget who Kris was and what he did for this community,’ so we started with the scholarships,” Letendre said. “We have a lot of people from previous classes, coaches, players, even just students who knew Kris, who want to help and do more. It became the foundation of the Landers Foundation.
Letendre hopes the foundation will grow to the point that it can also be used to improve sports facilities around campus.
Like the Landers Foundation, the idea of renaming the stadium sprang up during a memorial service held on the evening of Landers’ death last fall.
“It’s been a year-long effort to get something permanent to allow Kris’s name to always be there,” said Jason Morgan, president of the Kris Landers Foundation. “There is no one who deserves this honor more than Kris. I am just very proud and honored to be part of a group of people who have come together to keep his memory alive.
It wasn’t until the memorial service and the days that followed that Cox, who also serves on the foundation’s board of directors, fully understood how much his brother was revered by the community.
“I always knew that there were so many people who loved and cared about Kris, but until he passed away, I never knew how much or to what extent they loved him,” he said. Cox said. “I got more cards, calls, letters and people I didn’t even know who stopped me in stores and told me what he meant to them.”
Plans to finance and build the new signage at the stadium entrance are yet to be approved, but Letendre expects it to be soon.
The goal is to have the signage in the near future and to have a ceremony at a game this fall, but the schedule is still pending.