The 'Willie McCool Track & Field'

Published: Oct. 3, 2003 at 8:54 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 12, 2014 at 2:29 AM CST
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Coronado students honored the memory of Astronaut Willie McCool, by renaming the track and field after the 1979 CHS graduate. McCool died aboard the space shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated over Texas upon re-entry.

On Friday at Coronado High school, there was a tribute to Astronaut, Alumni, Columbia Pilot Willie McCool. The student body unveiled a huge new attractive sign, adorned with the late astronaut's name.

William C. McCool
PERSONAL DATA: Born September 23, 1961 in San Diego, California. Married. He enjoys running, mountain biking, back country hiking/camping, swimming, playing
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His sister, Kirstie Chadwick, touched by the awesome tribute. "I can't think of a better way to honor him." Willie's entire family came to Lubbock for the celebration. Including his son Cameron, his wife Lonnie and his mom and dad. "What more could a father ask for in a son. He was special," says Willie's father Barent McCool.

The intellectually gifted, socially spirited McCool roamed the halls of Coronado back in the late '70's, but you get a sense that today's student body considers him a classmate, a friend and of course an inspiration. His name now goes up permanently above the track where Willie set a school record in the mile run.

The ceremony culminated with a United States Navy VT-21 Redhawk fighter jet flyby. A majestic display, in the same sky that saw tragedy nine months ago.