Roland-Story renames track, football field 'to honor legendary former leaders'

Roland-Story Community School District
Special to the Herald
Former coaches Kerry Van Winkle, left, and Dallas Kray were honored by the Roland-Story School District as the high school football field and track, respectively, were renamed for them.

On Sept. 4, the Roland-Story Community School District officially celebrated two people who have been critical to the success of its athletics and activities programs over the past several decades.

Back in June, the Board of Education approved a resolution to name the high school track after long-time coach and activities director Dallas Kray and the football field after legendary football coach Kerry Van Winkle.

"We are incredibly excited to honor Dallas Kray and Kerry Van Winkle with the naming of the Roland-Story track and football field," said Matt Patton, Roland-Story superintendent. "For many years, these two individuals set the example for what it means to be a Norseman. We are very grateful for their service to our school and communities, and extremely proud of their many accomplishments. Their legacies and this well-deserved honor serve as a standard for future generations of Norsemen to follow."

Former coaches Kerry Van Winkle, left, and Dallas Kray were honored by the Roland-Story School District as the high school football field and track, respectively, were renamed for them.

The first activities director in Roland-Story history, Kray spent 36 years in the district as an administrator and coach. In track and field, he coached at least six individual or relay state champions, while also leading the varsity baseball team for 26 years. He pushed for the building of an all-weather track at its current location and was instrumental in the construction of a new baseball field.

Kray was named State AD of the Year in 1990 and National AD of the Year in 1996.

Van Winkle, a member of the Iowa High School Football Hall of Fame, served as head coach of the Norsemen for 40 years. He accumulated a record of 243-131 at Roland Story, for a winning percentage of .650. He is perhaps best remembered in the community for his teams' 38-game win streak from 1979 to 1982.

During Van Winkle's tenure, the Norsemen made 17 playoff appearances and won two state titles. The coach remains one of just 20 in state history to reach 250 wins.

"We have a rich tradition of excellence in our athletics programs, and these two individuals were absolutely critical to building that tradition," said Brian Petersen, Roland-Story activities director. "Their presence is felt throughout our school district community to this day. It is an honor to follow in their footsteps and continue striving to reach the high standards they set for our student-athletes and coaches."

Roland-Story alumni Brad Eslick and Roger Parker proposed the renaming of the track and football field in honor of Kray and Van Winkle. The board officially voted to approve the measure at its June 8 meeting.

The school district is excited to officially recognize the contributions these two leaders have made during their time serving our students, families and community.

"We hope to do a more proper dedication next football season when COVID restrictions allow for that," Patton said.