The motivation behind renaming Public Schools Stadium in Duluth

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Walt Hunting and Marv Heikkinen were legendary coaches and teachers at Denfeld High School.

That’s why their names are on the proposal to rename Public Schools Stadium to Walt Hunting Stadium – Marv Heikkinen Field.

Hunting was a WWI veteran, who coached from 1927-1955.

Joe Vukelich, Denfeld alum, historian, and member of the Re-Naming Committee, explained, “One day, in 1935, they came running out. And somebody yelled, here comes Hunting’s hunters. And that’s how the Hunters came to be.”

Hunting died in 1957.

Heikkinen, who is 85, is tied with Hunting as the All-Time Winning Coach. He was also an innovative teacher.

“He created two curriculums that are still taught here, and he’s been retired for 30 years,” explained Vukelich.

More importantly, historians said, they were and are wonderful and humble role models who cared about their players and the students.

But the renaming is just the start, with plans to honor other athletes and people who’ve made an impact at Denfeld.

“Stadiums are a meaningful thing for a lot of people. We understand that. We know people are going to want to have a voice,” shared Tim Doyle, another Denfeld alum and member of the Re-Naming Committee.

Doyle said they’ve worked with the district and current Denfeld students on this project. Plus they’ve reached out to Morgan Park and Central alumni as well.

Four schools used to play at PSS: Denfeld, East, Central, and Morgan Park. But now, with Central and Morgan Park closed, and East having its own field, it’s Denfeld’s main home now.

If you want to reach out about people you’d like to see honored, please email:

You can submit name ideas to the school district through April 10th. After that, the Business Services department will review all name change submissions and make a decision on which name to move forward. Then they would create a naming rights agreement that would be sent to the School Board as a recommendation for approval. It’s expected to be in front of the school board in May.