FOR THE RECORD:
Roger Carlson’s age was incorrectly stated. He is 74.
“I’m overwhelmed. To have my name assigned with a Newport-Mesa school district field is something that doesn’t come around very often,” Carlson said in an interview. “I’m very honored by it, and I have a lot of people to thank.”
Carlson was officially nominated for the recognition by Rachel Perez-Hamilton, 75, a lifelong Costa Mesa resident and 1956 Harbor graduate. She often read Carlson’s work when her children attended Harbor.
Her application was inspired by an Oct. 8 column by former Pilot columnist William Lobdell calling on the community to give Carlson the honor.
“His labor of love had a positive impact on literally tens of thousands of high school athletes who, like me, are forever grateful for having achievements from their glory days published in the Pilot,” Lobdell wrote.
Carlson, now retired, started as a freelancer for the Pilot in 1964 before being hired full time. He worked as a reporter for 25 years before being promoted to editor, a position he held for 15 years.
The district solicited community input on the nomination and held a committee meeting June 15 about the issue.
One person endorsed Carlson, and five community members wrote in to support him, said Thomas Antal, the director of secondary instruction and curriculum.
The committee gave unanimous approval to recommend Carlson to the school board, he said.
“During the entire time,” Antal told the board, “everything we uncovered was that it was his mission to highlight youngsters in this community in the newspaper.”