Sanford’s annual Homecoming is always an action-packed, fun-filled weekend with a variety of activities organized to ensure that alums who return to campus are welcomed and have numerous opportunities to see students, faculty, and the campus in action. This year’s events included the dedication of a new Bermuda grass field, which was officially named the Eph Humphreys Field in honor of Sanford’s longtime educator, administrator, and coach.
At the September 20 ceremony, Head of School Mark Anderson noted that it is rare for a person to spend an entire career at one school, but Humphreys did just that. After serving Sanford for 31 years, Humphreys retired from Sanford in June 2019, making his return to campus for the dedication his first official homecoming. Humphreys noted, “Most dedications come after one has passed away, and it is great to be alive so that I can enjoy this shared moment with all of you who have come to this event today. This beautiful, non-artificial field is a representation of the Sanford faculty, their students and athletes—all of whom I had the pleasure to serve.”
In addition to Anderson, former Sanford educator and coach Dr. Barton Reese, current head of school at Centreville Layton School, and Sanford Athletic Director (AD) Joan Samonisky spoke at the ceremony. Samonisky reminded those in attendance that Humphreys was a collegiate lacrosse goalie at Penn State University, and in 1984 he worked with Chip Mayo, who was the Sanford AD at the time, in order to revive Sanford’s boys lacrosse program. Samonisky continued: “That program is now one of our most successful athletic programs on campus. In most spring seasons, Eph would generously volunteer his time, before or after practices, to work with boys or girls lacrosse goalies, of all ages.”
During his tenure at Sanford Humphreys filled numerous coaching roles, including: varsity boys soccer assistant, varsity and Middle School boys and girls tennis, JV basketball, varsity boys lacrosse (head and assistant), Middle School boys lacrosse, and Middle School boys soccer. Samonisky praised Humphreys for his willingness to do whatever was needed and shared that he was known to remark, “Back in the day, we all coached everything, without trainers or cell phones!”
It was Humphreys who looked at the issue of Upper School and Middle School teams having to share fields and courts and devised the schedule that allows Middle School sports teams to have dedicated spaces for the last period of the seventh/eighth-grade school day. Samonisky noted. “From his concern for the Middle School athletic program, Eph helped us institute our current Middle School sports set-up. Many years after making this happen, it is still the schedule we follow today. In fact, it is also a model that many schools in the area have copied.”
Anderson reminded the audience that Sanford had bestowed another high honor on Humphreys in 2015 when he received the prestigious Founder’s Day Award. “When a teacher and a school leader spends his whole career at one school, he is bound to touch many lives and have a big impact on the life of that school. Certainly, that is the case with Eph Humphreys.”
Humphreys concluded: “Those who know me best know that this field dedication is not about me, but rather the children who represent why we teach and dedicate our lives to helping to shape the next generations, who ultimately will lead our schools and country.”