New name proposed for Atlanta’s Grady Stadium

An Atlanta school board committee recommended changing the name of Grady Stadium, pictured in this file photo. JOHN SPINK/AJC FILE PHOTO
An Atlanta school board committee recommended changing the name of Grady Stadium, pictured in this file photo. JOHN SPINK/AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Grady Stadium could be renamed to honor Eddie S. Henderson, Sr., a former Atlanta principal, coach and athletic director.

The athletic field at the high school football stadium in Midtown already bears Henderson’s name. An Atlanta school board naming committee on Tuesday recommended the entire stadium be renamed to pay tribute to the man who was, according to a district document, the first African American in Georgia to complete the requirements to be a certified athletic director.

The stadium renaming proposal follows the school board’s decision last month to change the name of nearby Henry W. Grady High School to Midtown High School.

“Everything about Eddie Henderson exudes greatness, especially with regards to Atlanta Public Schools athletics. And, I think it would be very befitting to have Grady Stadium named after Mr. Henderson,” said Jasper Jewell, the district’s athletics director and a member of the naming committee.

In December, following months of debate, the school board voted to remove Grady’s name from the high school because of his racist views. Grady was the managing editor of The Atlanta Constitution and died in 1889.

Henderson’s son, Eddie Henderson Jr., told the stadium naming committee Tuesday that his father coached boys and girls’ basketball and football at Grady High. He said his father worked at the school for 18 years, also serving as athletic director.

He later became the principal of the former Archer High School in Atlanta. In 1995, Henderson was named director of athletics instruction for Atlanta Public Schools.

Henderson died in 2001.

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Board member Michelle Olympiadis, who led the stadium naming committee, said Henderson provides “an inspirational and aspirational legacy” for students.

The full school board must approve the name change before it is official. The board is expected to vote on the matter at its February meeting.

If the Henderson recommendation is finalized, district officials could consider renaming the athletic field to honor someone else, Olympiadis said.

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