Newport-Mesa to consider naming Harbor's press box

COSTA MESA — School district officials want to gauge community support for naming the football press box at Newport Harbor High School after a former Daily Pilot sports editor.

School officials are considering whether to honor Roger Carlson, who spent 40 years covering Newport-Mesa sports.

"His labor of love has a positive impact on literally tens of thousands of high [school] athletes who are forever grateful for having achievements from their glory days published in the Pilot," said Rachel Perez-Hamilton, who nominated Carlson, quoting from her application.

Perez-Hamilton, a lifelong Costa Mesa resident and 1956 Harbor graduate, nominated Carlson in April. She was inspired by an Oct. 8 column by former Pilot columnist William Lobdell calling on the community to give Carlson the honor.

Perez-Hamilton, 75, said she also has known the sportswriter her whole life and often read Carlson's work when her children attended Harbor.

"He's so deserving," she said. "He lived in that press box for 40 years."

Carlson started working for the Pilot in 1964 as a freelancer before being hired full-time, according to the Pilot's archives.

He worked as a reporter for 25 years before being promoted to editor, a job he held for 15 years.

"A football coach named Dave Holland of Corona del Mar High once described me in a Daily Pilot article as a someone who didn't really have a job, because it was a passion," Carlson said in an e-mail Monday. "He was right."

The 76-year-old retired journalist said he would appreciate having the press box named after him, but it's not something that happens often, and he isn't anticipating it.

"I spent half a lifetime, it seems, in that press box, and loved every minute of it," he said.

The district is accepting community input on the dedication until June 15 when a committee, made up of parents and district employees, will discuss the matter, said Newport-Mesa Unified spokeswoman Laura Boss.

Residents will be able to voice their opinions at the beginning of the meeting.

The committee will then choose to meet again or make a recommendation to the school board, Boss said.

District criteria mandates that naming a facility after a person, whether alive or dead, must have contributed greatly to the betterment of the community and have been a positive role model.

Any feedback should go to the district's Thomas Antal at or (714) 424-7516.

Residents can attend the committee meeting at 6 p.m. June 15 at the District Education Center, 2985 Bear St., Costa Mesa.

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