School stadium title debated

By Daniel Tedford 
Daily Pilot
March 5, 2008

Giving Estancia/Costa Mesa High School Stadium a name will likely have to wait after community leaders debated their options Tuesday night.

The school board makes the final decision, but first an ad hoc committee of community leaders has been set up to discuss names. They will forward a recommendation to the school board.

The first proposal asked to name the stadium Jim Scott Sr. stadium and the team room after former Estancia football player Brian “Bubba” Kapko.

After the committee started its work, school officials received two more proposed names. That led school officials to consider extending the discussion.

The extension would allow further review and give community leaders the opportunity to submit more proposals.

The committee will present its review of board policy and proposals at the school board meeting next Tuesday night.

Among the few residents at the discussion Tuesday, there was strong support for Scott, although a proposal for former football coach Don Burns also drew support.

“I feel very strongly it should be named after Jim Scott,” said Costa Mesa High School track and field coach Diane Bjelland.

“But there should be fairness between Costa Mesa High School and Estancia.”

Scott, an Estancia alumnus, led the drive for approval and funding for the stadium.

Scott suffered a series of strokes more than a year ago, which confined him to a wheel chair and put him under professional care.

The proposal for the team room to be named for Kapko, an ex-Estancia star football player who died in a car accident two years ago, was the most disputed.

Former Estancia and Costa Mesa High football coach Dave Perkins said he received phone calls from upward of 40 football players expressing distress over the exemption of other players and faculty members who have died who were not considered.

Perkins suggested a memorial wall to solve the problem.

“It is such an emotional thing,” Perkins said. “You can’t leave anybody out.”

Kapko was killed when a driver being pursued by police hit the car he was traveling in.

“I can’t think of something that Brian would be more honored to be associated with,” Brian’s brother Matt Kapko said. “I think that he really had a lasting impact. I am honestly surprised by the number of people that still remember him that I wasn’t even aware of.”

Matthew Wartena, the driver of the car evading police that killed Kapko, was sentenced to 66 years in prison for a series of crimes, including Kapko’s death.

Wartena was convicted on criminal trespass of a vehicle and second degree burglary in October 2007, but the jury was hung on the other counts.

He was later tried again and was found guilty of attempted murder, vehicular eluding causing death, aggravated motor vehicle theft, burglary, trespass of a vehicle and four counts of eluding with injury.

The jury was hung on the counts of first degree murder and extreme indifference of Brian Kapko.