Coast Guard Academy names gym after first African-American head coach

Dr. Hallie Gregory Field House ribbon cutting ceremony

Dr. Hallie Gregory Field House ribbon cutting ceremony

NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Coast Guard Academy hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday where the 5th Deck of Roland Hall gym will forever be known as the Dr. Hallie Gregory Field House, named after the man that embodied the words “Strive to Excel, Foster Unity, Instill Respect”.

Gregory, a Rockford, Illinois-native, became the first African-American head coach at any service academy when he became a head coach at the Coast Guard Academy in 1971.

In attendance at Saturday’s ceremony were his children Holly Gregory-MacDonald, Reverend Paula Haywood, and Hayes Gregory, his niece Valerie Miller, and friend JoAnne Miller. Gregory passed away in 2017.

Coach Gregory was a pioneer, the first African-American coach at the Boys Club of America in Rockford; first African-American teacher at Guilford High School in Rockford; and first African-American coach at Moorhead State College in Moorhead Minnesota.

When Gregory accepted a faculty position, from then legendary sports figure Otto Graham, his legacy became inextricably linked to the Coast Guard Academy. This gathering on Saturday further cements that legacy and serves as a signal to all that the spirit of Gregory’s words and actions are part of the Coast Guard’s blueprint for future success.

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