The Fountain Inn Recreational Department held a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the Emanuel Sullivan Sports Complex on Friday.
“I grew up a stones throw from the park (formerly known as Woodside Park),” said Sullivan. “I’ve been in Fountain Inn all of my life.
My father worked at Woodside Mill and played ball at the park.
I’m an emotional person. This means a tremendous amount to my family and I.”
Mr. Sullivan, who was joined at the event by his family, friends, former players, coaches, and community members, volunteered as a coach with the Fountain Inn Recreational Department for 45 years.
“This is a very happy day for our family,” Emanuel’s wife Lilli Sullivan said. “He loves people and especially children.
It has been a joy for me to see him help children. He has been a father figure to many children and he has really enjoyed coaching.”
“We are like brothers,” Sullivan’s friend and former Fountain Inn Park Director Roger (PD) Terry said. “I am so excited that Fountain Inn is naming the park after Emanuel.
He coached in Fountain Inn for a long time and had a big impact on a lot of kids in the community.”
Former Hillcrest High School and University of South Carolina running back Thomas Dendy played for Sullivan.
“He coached me in football,” said Thomas Dendy. “He actually took me to my first Clemson game.
Even though I went to USC, that experience meant the world to me. He was not just a coach, but he was also a father figure.
He always gave good advice about life and making good decisions. I carried a lot of the things he taught me into life.”
Sullivan celebrated his 38th year as a volunteer coach at Hillcrest High School this year.
“I just turned 42 years old and to think that next year will be his 39th year as an unpaid, volunteer coach at Hillcrest is something I really can’t comprehend,” said Hillcrest Athletic Director Tommy Bell. “He has been a steady and positive influence over many of our coaches and players.
He is simply one of the best representatives of our community.”
Sullivan has coached baseball, basketball, football, and softball during his time volunteering with Fountain Inn Rec and Hillcrest.
“He was a big influence in my life and many others kids of all races,” said former Hillcrest and Western Carolina standout Jada Sullivan. “He coached me in both basketball and football.
He is a mentor and a man of God. He will do anything for anybody.”
The sports complex, which was formerly known as Woodside Park before a recent multi-million dollar renovation, covers almost 14 acres.
The complex contains three baseball/softball fields, a T-ball field, a multi-purpose field, playground, batting cages, and a new press box and concession stand.
The Miracle League Field/T-ball field, which is handicap accessible, allows children with mental and physical disabilities to participate in baseball. The rubberized turf field accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
“When you say Fountain Inn sports the names PD Terry and Emanuel Sullivan come to mind,” said Fountain Inn Park Director Russell Haltiwanger. “Naming this park after Emanuel Sullivan was a no brainer.”