East Central University is naming its football stadium Koi Ishto Stadium or 'Big Cat' in the Chickasaw language. The announcement was made Tuesday at the ECU Tiger Kick-off 2014 Dinner and Auction.
The name change is in honor of ECU's relationship with the Native American population and the Chickasaw Nation.
"We are proud we will see the Koi Ishto name on the stadium where the Ada Cougars and the ECU Tigers play," said Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby. "Our close relationship with East Central University goes back more than 100 years to the time Chickasaw Daniel Hayes donated the land on which this university was built. This name helps us remember a time when many Chickasaws would have referred to a cougar or a tiger as Koi Ishto."
ECU President John R. Hargrave is pleased to honor the Chickasaw Nation with this special stadium naming.
"We value the Chickasaw Nation's commitment for education," said Hargrave. "We wanted to honor our partnership with the Chickasaw Nation and thank them for their dedication to education and ECU."
Ada High School also has a long history of playing its football games at the ECU stadium.
"We also value our partnership with the Ada Public Schools and feel that 'Big Cat' represents both ECU Tigers and the Ada Cougars," Hargrave said.
"Quite obviously, our relationship with the Chickasaw Nation goes back years and years too," said Pat Harrison, superintendent of Ada Public Schools. "Like ECU, the Chickasaw Nation has been a most valuable partner to our school district in many ways. With all good partnerships, everyone benefits. I'm sure that will be the case with Koi Ishto Stadium."
The playing surface in the stadium will still be referred to as Norris Field. The official renaming of the stadium will take place on Chickasaw Appreciation Day on Nov. 15 when the Tigers entertain Southeastern Oklahoma State University at 2 p.m.