Clover Park School District announcement.
LAKEWOOD, Wash. — Clover Park High School (CPHS) hosted a special ceremony before its varsity boys basketball game on Friday, Feb. 4, to unveil a new name for the school’s gymnasium in honor of long-time educator and coach Mel Ninnis. The unveiling ceremony was streamed live and is available for viewing on the district’s YouTube channel.
Ninnis was an educator and boys basketball coach who passed away last August. He joined the district as a teacher in 1985 and served as head coach of the boys basketball team from 1995 until last school year.
In his 28 seasons as head coach, Ninnis won 398 games and the 2011 Class 2A State Championship.
“I want to say thank you to his family for sharing this great man with us, and thank you for giving us the honor of continuing to share him through the gymnasium’s new name,” said Superintendent Ron Banner. “His impact on CPHS and our greater district community goes far beyond the basketball court.”
The ceremony featured the CPHS band and cheer squad and remarks from Banner, CPHS Principal Tim Stults, School Board Vice President Carole Jacobs, and Ninnis’s son and wife, Ryan and Alice.
“My dad believed greatness is always found in serving and giving and sacrificing and love,” said Ryan Ninnis, who is a PE teacher at CPHS. “He saw the game of basketball as a vehicle for teaching young men how to be great men.”
The school unveiled a banner that will hang on the wall of the gymnasium and a floor sticker with Ninnis’s initials that sits on the court where he used to stand during games. An official plaque will be added to the gymnasium before the 2022-23 school year.
“One of the things that Mel enjoyed the most is seeing our community come together,” Stults said. “He coached, encouraged and modeled what it means to be a passionate human that loves unconditionally.”