Last year around this time, a fundraising drive began for a gravestone and memorial marker in honor of the late Sank Powe began.
Almost a full year later, everything has fallen into place. The gravestone is at Westlawn Cemetery, and the memorial marker, which is a monument, is at Sank Powe Field on the Cleveland Central High School Campus. A dedication for the monument will be held Saturday at 4 p.m. Sank Powe Field.
Powe, who died in 2013 at the age of 70, was considered one of the great coaches and community bridge builders in the Delta. Powe, a native of Mound Bayou, was head baseball coach for 30 years at Cleveland High and East Side, posting a record of 517-183. Out of those 30 years, 25 were spent at Cleveland High. In 1972, he guided the Wildcats to the Class A State Baseball Championship. Also at Cleveland High, he was the first softball coach in the school. From 1990-97, his slow pitch teams advanced to the 4A Playoffs seven times with five division championships and two North State Championships. The Lady Wildcats finished state runner-ups in 1992, finished tied for third in the state in 1995 and finished third again in 1996. In his eight years as softball coach, Powe posted a record of 147-57.
More than his wins on the field, he worked hard to unite all people in the community. He was the coordinator for the Cleveland School District Mentor Program, worked at the Cleveland Park Commission and was a scout in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Joe Davidson, Funeral Assistant at Cleveland Funeral Home and the one who started the fundraising drive, is excited about this weekend and is thankful for the help he’s received in the process.
“It’s been a great thing and a thing I’ve really enjoyed doing, but he deserves everything he gets,” Davidson said. “He was a legend, an icon and a mentor to so many people in the community. I just feel proud to do it and Lisa Miller has helped me from step one. Everybody that’s donated, I feel like has contributed. It’s at 4 o’clock Saturday. The Powe family will be there. Dorothy Powe, Coach Powe’s sister from Atlanta, and his daughters will be there. I’m excited.”
The dedication is set to feature comments from some of Powe’s former players and people that knew Powe best. Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell is scheduled to say some words to start the event.
“Everybody has a story about Coach Powe,” Davidson said. “It won’t be hard to find people that want to share funny stories and I’m sure some serious stories about coach Powe.”
The monument is located between Sank Powe Field and the CCHS softball field. There is some landscaping that needs to be done around the monument and it’s scheduled to be completed Thursday. In the next few weeks, there will also be a plaque put up at the Cleveland Park Commission.