• 54°

Gym officially named for Torrence

County superintendent applauds Cornell "Coach" Torrence as the sign is unveiled renaming the Escambia County High School gymnasium in Torrence's honor Thursday afternoon.

County superintendent applauds Cornell “Coach” Torrence as the sign is unveiled renaming the Escambia County High School gymnasium in Torrence’s honor Thursday afternoon.

The Escambia County High School gymnasium was officially named the “Cornell Torrence Gymnasium” on Thursday afternoon, honoring a longtime coach, educator and civil servant.

Torrence, who currently serves on the Atmore City Council, taught and coached basketball and football at Escambia County Training School for 14 years, and at ECHS for 25 years. He was joined for Thursday’s ceremony by family, former players and students, and numerous city and school officials.

“I am just very proud and humbled by this day,” Torrence said. “It was wonderful to see my students and former players come back to see this.”

The building now features a wooden lettered white sign displaying the words “Cornell Torrence” above the previous “Gymnasium” sign.

After the sign’s unveiling, a ceremony was held in the ECHS cafeteria. Those who spoke at the ceremony included school board chairman Willie J. Grissett, school board member Rev. Coleman Wallace, superintendent John Knott, ECHS principal Dennis Fuqua, and Dana Vickrey, one of Torrence’s former health and driver’s education students.

“[Torrence] loved football and loved basketball, but most of all, he loved touching lives,” said Knott, who presented Torrence with a framed copy of the original school board resolution that recommended renaming the gym. That resolution was made at the board’s Jan. 23, 2014, meeting, with board member Sherry Digmon making the motion and Danny Benjamin seconding it. The motion passed unanimously.

Torrence’s grandson, the Rev. Sinclair Forbes, also spoke at Thursday’s ceremony and expressed his appreciation to the community for being able to honor his grandfather.

“If you hear the Torrence name, I hope that you think of ‘service,'” Forbes said. “Words cannot adequately describe what this day means to my family.”

For a gallery of photos from Thursday’s ceremony, visit The Atmore Advance on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153138101538469.1073741851.83649498468&type=1.

For more on this story, see the Wednesday, Feb. 18, edition of The Atmore Advance.