New record board unveiled

Newport Harbor High School alumni unveiled a piece of school history Wednesday, dropping the curtain on a new record board.

The $3,600 monument chronicles track and field achievements from decades past to the present and is continually updated by alumnus Brian Theriot.

In 2009, the original track and field record board was taken down to make way for construction. Theriot decided it was time to update the records and convert them all from yards to meters.

"Then [the board] up and disappeared," Theriot said.

He decided it was time to ask donors for a new board anyway and erect it in a busy hallway outside NHHS's Heritage Hall.

Half a dozen of the alumni named on the board showed up for the unveiling and some reminiscing.

"Growing up in Newport was the best thing that ever happened to me," said recordholder Chris Corum. "After practice, we'd go surf. I wish I had that kind of energy" now.

As they took turns speaking, each alumnus talked lovingly of Coach Bob Hailey.

"He's like a father to me," said Theriot, who included Hailey in his wedding ceremony.

The now-retired mentor wasn't able to attend the unveiling because of health concerns stemming from an accident decades ago when he was struck by a drunken driver, his former athletes said.

Hailey, affectionately called "Uncle Bob," has his place on the board.

In the bottom left corner, tucked next to the "shot put hall of fame," is a small plaque in his honor.

"Uncle Bob not being here today is really sad," said Corum, who helped set a school record in the 440-yard relay.

Theriot said it was simple to raise funds for the monument by tapping into the school's tradition of competition know as "the long gray line."

But the board already needs updating with a Harbor athlete recently throwing a shot put more than 60 feet, a coach informed Theriot.

"Oh you're kidding. There's another 10 bucks," he joked. "Well, I'm not going to change it until the end of the year."

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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