Sign gets new look

The Rush Niles Memorial Field sign at Bonduel High School's football field got a major facelift after the Niles family decided it needed to be upgraded.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->"I've ... wanted to do something with it for a while, so I brought the idea up to the family, and they were supportive of it," said Chris Gehm, Niles' grandson. Niles passed away in 1974.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The project began in September and the new sign was placed Saturday.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Features of the new 3- by 8-foot sign include a routed aluminum face with clear, half-inch, push through acrylic letters covered in vinyl paint. It is lit by florescent lamps.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The project cost about $2,800.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The previous sign had been in place since the field was dedicated in Niles' honor in 1975. The wood design had been weathered over the years and had faded and cracked.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->The new sign was placed where the old one had been under the scoreboard on the west end of the field.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->"The family is donating the whole project and has done all the work," District Administrator Dr. Peter Behnke said. "It's a very fitting project. ... He was quite the legendary Bonduel coach and there are a lot of people in the community who remember him and speak fondly of him as a phy ed teacher and/or coach."<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Niles moved to Bonduel in 1944 and coached football for 25 years. The teams had 114 wins, 61 losses and seven ties. His teams won three conference titles: Wolf River Valley in 1944 with a 7-0 record, Central Wisconsin Conference in 1952 with a 7-0 record, outscoring opponents 114-19, and Central Wisconsin Conference in 1958 with a record of 6-1-1.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->In 1964, Rush was presented with a trophy cup and jacket by team members and cheerleaders for more than 20 years of leadership. In 1967, he was given a surprise recognition night for his years of service and guidance to Bonduel High School athletes and students.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Rush also coached teams in basketball to over 150 wins and his track teams won nine championships. The track team finished second five times in the state Class C meet.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->In 1974, the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association honored Rush with a citation for 31 years of dedicated service.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Niles died in December 1974 of cancer.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->"We've had people tell us he was Bonduel's Lomardi," said Carol Gehm, Niles' daughter.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Gehm said she and her siblings - Pat Mundt, Jack Niles, Jane Derdering and Nancy Borth - grew up admiring their dad's hard work.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->"He put a lot of time in here. Everything he did was for the kids," she said. "We're very pleased with the sign. I know he would be, too."

By: 
Tiffany Wilbert
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Aluminum, lighted Rush Niles sign replaces original
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