Coach O Court To Be Dedicated
August 14, 2014
Melvyn Ottinger now jokes he didn’t realize he shouldn’t be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
He was only 26. It was 1968, and he was full of energy and eagerness for his new position as a charter faculty member of Dalton Junior College and the College’s head basketball coach.
His hard work and dedication to the newly formed basketball program paid off.
Coach O, as he is affectionately called, saw 231 wins and 78 losses in his ten years as head coach. He, along with assistant coach Dick Coleman, were with the program its entire time, from 1968 until 1978. Ottinger remained a faculty member teaching biology and physical education until 2000.
“Two hundred thirty one of my fondest of all my memories happened right here,” said Ottinger as he sat on a row of seating overlooking the basketball court in Dalton State’s Bandy Gym.
The gym floor, which was so full of fans that they had to stand around the sidelines during Ottinger’s time as coach, will be named for him, honoring his lasting legacy at the College.
Ottinger will be honored on Friday, Sept. 5 in the gym during a Dalton State volleyball match against Brewton-Parker. The dedication will be between the second and third game of the match.
“This place is very special to me,” he said. “Anytime you spend half your life working in one place it must be special. To look across the court and see ‘Coach O’ is very humbling.”
The naming of the court comes on the heels of a major renovation at the Bandy Gymnasium. Athletic Director Derek Waugh said the new court was made possible through the generosity of The John Willis Mashburn Trust, Dalton Utilities, First Bank of Dalton, Randy Beckler, Julian and Anita Saul, the Dalton State Foundation, and numerous former Roadrunner players and cheerleaders who gave in honor of Ottinger.
“We are blessed to have the private support to be able to upgrade athletic facilities on campus,” Waugh said. “The new floor at Bandy Gymnasium looks fantastic, our volleyball team should be very good this year and we are honoring a man who put a lot of sweat equity into this institution. It should be a great night.”
For Ottinger, the upgrades are a testament to the community of Dalton.
“Dalton is a special place,” he said. “This refurbishing is because of private donations. That says something about Dalton.”
“And if the lighting had been this good when I was a coach, we might not have lost any games,” he added.
The basketball court is now used for volleyball matches. The new basketball program plays at the trade center, but practices at the Bandy Gym.
On the night of the dedication, T-shirts commemorating the event will be given to the first 175 people through the door. There will be a ribbon cutting and comments between games of the volleyball match.
Waugh said fans of the Roadrunners and Ottinger are reminded to be there early for all of the excitement of Dalton State volleyball.