Harry McPherson*

Member Category:


There is possibly no more recognizable name in the history of Napa High School than Dr. Harry McPherson. As a major contributor to the success of the athletic department and the teams and athletes developed by the coaches in the Napa High Athletic Department, McPherson has earned his place in the Athletic Hall of Fame. During his tenure from 1940 to 1965 as Superintendent of the Napa Union High School District, McPherson was the driving force behind the Napa Recreation Commission, created Memorial Stadium (using seats from the defunct Veterans Memorial Building), created the index system for coaches, led the drive to get the swimming pool at Napa High and the college-size gym floor at Napa High. The Board of Education fully funded all aspects of the athletic programs at Napa High, as well as the junior highs. McPherson had a penchant for hiring teachers who could also coach and eliminated any barriers that prevented coaches from becoming administrators. He gave 100% backing to athletic programs at all levels, from the seventh grade through junior college. When McPherson came to Napa in 1940, Napa High had 550 students in four grades. When he retired in 1965, there were 1,400 students in two grades at Napa High. In 1940, there were no athletic programs before 9th grade. In 1965, there were three junior high schools, each with full athletic programs including track, football, baseball, basketball, wrestling and girls programs that included tennis, volleyball, gymnastics and swimming. As one might expect, McPherson played football at Whittier College for three years. The 1921 team lost to U.S.C. 7-0, despite a great game by the 135-pound McPherson at end. He also coached basketball at Hemet High School in 1924. The Special Category is reserved for such contributions to Napa High and the Napa community and McPherson has earned such distinction in the Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame.