It made perfect sense that the Covington High School football stadium was named after the late George Pinner before Thursday night’s season opener vs. Munford.
On Aug. 19, 2016, a little more than a month after Pinner lost his battle with cancer at the age of 70, Covington opened its season at home against Munford. A ceremony was held to honor him before that game. After Covington beat Munford, then coach Marty Wheeler said he felt the presence of Pinner, who was a videographer and volunteer assistant coach for the Chargers for nearly 50 years.
“There were a couple of times there in the second half where things didn’t go our way and we break a long run and it gets called back, I was thinking, ‘How about, if you’ve got a chance to help us, how about some help?'” Wheeler said after that game. “I know he’s smiling right now.”
T.J. Smith, Covington’s star running back that season, added, “I know he wanted us to win. Coach Pinner, he didn’t like Munford. I know he wanted this and we got if for him.”
Now, all future Covington games will be played inside George Pinner Stadium.
Current Covington coach J.R. Kirby, who coached with Pinner as an assistant coach for several seasons before becoming the head coach, said the idea of naming the stadium after Pinner had been discussed for several years. Last April he took the idea to the Tipton County School Board, which approved it unanimously.
Just like the ceremony six years ago, several members of Pinner’s family were in attendance for Friday’s event.
“I thought if it was going to be named after anybody, it ought to be named after Mr. George,” Kirby said. “I think George made a great impression on a lot of people in the community, the players and the coaching staff. He loved Covington football.”