DES MOINES, Iowa — After a month of consideration, the Des Moines School Board voted unanimously to name the East High gym “Sam L. Powell Court” during its Tuesday meeting.

The decision was made after several former colleagues and players submitted an application for the school board to consider naming the gymnasium after the legendary coach who won a state girls’ basketball title in 2011.

“They always say it’s important to give someone their flowers while they’re still here,” Shronda Butts said.

Butts and two other former players were at the meeting to show support for naming the gym in their coach’s honor. She played for East High during the 2011 championship season and credits her success on and off the court to Powell.

“He’s the reason I went to college with a scholarship,” Butts said.

Butts played for Bradley University before transferring to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to finish her career.

Powell was the first Black coach to ever win a high school girls’ state basketball championship in Iowa. He was also named the Class 4A Coach of the Year in 2011. During his 15 years as a coach at East High, Powell led the Scarlets to twelve Metro League conference titles.

He now works as a juvenile probation officer for Polk County.

DMPS plans to have an official ceremony to unveil the new name once signage is complete at East High.