KILLEEN, TX (FOX 44) – A local legend is getting a new Killeen ISD football stadium dedicated under his name.
Joseph L. Searles III, graduated from Killeen High School in the 1959 being one of the first African American’s to do this in the integrated school district.
It’s an amazing experience here at the stadium kicking off football season, but it’s a bittersweet moment for Searle’s family and friends returning to his roots.
“I remember, as a child, my father always talking so highly of Killeen and how he was always going to take me back and show me where he integrated into the schools for football,” said Courtney Snowden, daughter of Joseph Searles.
It’s been a 10 year journey for Killeen ISD to help Snowden, see her fathers name on the stadium.
She flew in from New York to see this happen.
“Being here at a stadium named in his honor, it’s like is literally a wildest dream that I’m just bittersweet that he’s not here to be here for this,” said Snowden.
After playing for the New York Giants, he became the first African American to receive a seat in the New York Stock Exchange.
Searles longtime friend, Albert White, says he’s a man you can never forget.
“To mention in the history books every year for Black History Month, people mention him,” said White. “And if you go on Google, put Joseph Searles to see all of his background.”
Another longtime friend of Searles remembers the conversations they had about Killeen giving him the foundation he needed to succeed.
“The struggle and the hurdles are challenging that makes you stronger,” said Robert S. Lawrence, longtime friend of Searles. “The strength that he gained from being here enabled him to be a Wall Street. You go to Wall Street, you live in Harlem, you go play football with the New York Giants.”
In the ceremony, Snowden received memorabilia gifts of her father.
Killeen ISD Superintendent Dr. John Craft says his name was chosen to remind future Killeen students the future impact they can have on the world.
“It’s iconic. I can’t think of really a better individual to name this particular venue, this stadium, than Joseph L. Searles III,” said Dr. Craft.
All of Searle’s connections who spoke with FOX 44 say with his name being on the stadium, it will always make this a home for them to revisit, remembering his legacy.