Castle Wall will be revived Friday night with five 2019 inductees

Liz Castle, wife of the late Doug Castle, and their daughter Beth talk with Effie James about plans for Friday evening’s Castle Wall induction ceremony and the Doug Castle Legacy Project.

      Five inductees, the first since 2014, will be added to the Castle Wall at Arlin Field Friday evening during halftime of the Tygers’ homecoming game against Ashland.

      The Castle Wall, located behind Arlin’s east end zone, is named in honor of Doug Castle, longtime Mansfield City Schools teacher, coach and administrator, who died a year ago after battling brain cancer.

      The wall was constructed in 2011 from limestone blocks that formed the perimeter of the Mansfield High School that once stood on the northwest corner of West Fourth and Bowman streets. That limestone wall was still in place during the years that John Simpson Junior High School – where Castle served as principal – occupied the site.

      Effie James, a 1994 Senior High graduate and former boys varsity basketball coach, has been asked by athletic director Kevin Porter to head up plans to make the Castle Wall honors ceremony an annual event.

      The 2019 Castle Wall inductees include:

      -- James “Shorty” Gordon, a lifelong Mansfield resident who has helped at Tyger athletic events in many areas since he was in the eighth grade.

      -- Zach Massa, a 1994 Senior High graduate, who has been a staple of the boys and girls basketball programs, including keeping official statistics, since 1997.

      -- Milton Whitten III, aka “Spyderman,” a 1967 Senior High graduate, was a Tyger athlete and scholar. As an adult, he coached youth sports and was a regular at all Tyger sports events. Known for his flashy clothes and custom hats, his presence at games became legendary. He passed away last Aug. 24 but his memory lives on in all Tyger venues.

      -- Khalil Ali, a 1972 Senior High graduate, has served Tyger athletes as coach in track and field, basketball and football. A long-standing supporter and father figure to many tiger Athletes, in the mid-80s he was given the name “Daddy” by many of his athletes. His continued commitment to the success of Tyger athletics is unmatched.

      -- Jack Soliday, a 1969 Malabar High School graduate, has been a coach of multiple sports during his career as an educator, including middle school basketball and high school football, basketball and baseball. In 1996 he became the official PA announcer at Tyger football and basketball games. He is affectionately known as the “Voice of the Tygers.”

      The Doug Castle Legacy Project, launched a year ago, will begin to take shape in January when a committee plans to meet with Superintendent Stan Jefferson to discuss the first Castle Community Conversation in celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

      Liz and Beth Castle and others involved in the project hope to fund two initiatives once sufficient funding is in place:

      -- “Castle College Bound Expanding Horizons to encourage middle-school students often viewed as at-risk to think about college.”

      -- “A mentoring program supporting the ‘at risk’ kid. This already exists in many places but possibly something more radical in nature in terms of connecting across differences. Often schools expect the student to conform rather than becoming a student supportive environment. Could begin as a pilot with some of the students Doug mentored during his career speaking to current students.”

      Project developers said an advisory committee is being formed to ensure that any efforts will be ongoing and in touch with community needs.

      Anyone interested in serving on the committee or helping to advance the project may contact organizers by email at [email protected].

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