Loggers to say goodbye to Willard gymnasium with special event

Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers will officially say goodbye to one of the most iconic local sports arenas on the North Coast with a three-day event this weekend.

With the new Jay Willard Gymnasium set to be completed this summer and open in time for the new school year, the Eureka High Athletic Boosters are presenting a Farewell to Jay Willard Gymnasium for the local community.

The farewell will run from Friday night through Sunday, with several events planned and some honored guests scheduled to appear, including Jay Willard’s granddaughter, Melinda Sheridan, who is flying in from British Columbia for the weekend.

“We kind of felt we needed to say goodbye to such an iconic gym,” said Shayna Matteoli of the EHS Athletic Boosters. “It means a lot to a lot of people.”

The weekend festivities get under way with The Final Basketball Shoot-out Contest on Friday evening.

The action starts at 6 p.m. and is free to the public and open to any contestants high school age or older.

On Saturday, the iconic gym will host The Last Classic for ages 21 and older, described by organizers as “an evening  of Logger memories,” which will also include a dinner and silent auction and runs from 6 to 10 p.m.

Tickets are available for $60 or a table of 10 for $600 and a long list of special guests will include Logger hall off famers and former coaches, as well as Sheridan, who will be sharing some memories of her grandfather with the gathering.

“When she heard about it, she was like ‘I wouldn’t miss it for the world,’” Matteoli said of Sheridan. “She’s super excited about it.”

The silent auction will feature numerous items donated by the community , as well as the famed gym’s backboards and hoops, old lockers, benches and pool items.

Pieces of the floor and bleachers will be available at a later date, and anyone interested in purchasing a piece of the gym to keep as a memento should contact Loggers Athletic Director Omar Khattab.

All proceeds from the night and the sales will go towards Eureka High sports.

The three-day farewell will conclude on Sunday with One Last Look, which is free of charge and will allow members of the public to walk through the gym one final time from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Just speaking to people and listening to their stories, you realize how special it was to them,” Matteoli said. “It means a lot to all of the sports programs.”

Leave a Reply