Dalton State Coach Tony Ingle spoke at a Kiwanis Club meeting. Here are his remarks:
“When we came in we had a vision, we had work ethic, we wanted to do it the right way without sacrificing any principals,” Dalton State coach Tony Ingle told members of the Kiwanis Club of Dalton Tuesday at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center.
“Yes, we had success (26-4 in the school’s first season as a four year program). I really did not want to let my hometown town and I didn’t want to let the team down, so we worked day and night. Our players worked very hard. They had to learn to sacrifice.”
“I expect to give my best on a daily basis, that’s one thing I can do,” Ingle said. But no one could predict such a successful start.
“We dodged a lot of bullets early, but the second week in February we are 23 and two, tied for the most wins in NAIA. If anybody said that, you’d have to give them a saliva test.”
Ingle absolutely believes in the power of positive thinking. “But we thought that,” he said. “That’s what I was hoping for. Then we end up with the third best regular season record in NAIA basketball.”
“You may outsmart Tony Ingle, but you want out WORK me,” the coach had said when he was hired. He promised that same devotion for next year.
“You can count on an honest days work for an honest days pay. You can count on a man who has a big vision and dreams. I want to do something special.
“You can count on this. I don’t give up my dream. That’s mine,” Ingle declared.
He said he wanted to win a national championship while he was a player at then Dalton Junior College and it took him 31 years to finally achieve the dream at NCAA D-II Kennesaw State.
“My day will come here… one, two, three… I just hope it won’t take 31,” said Ingle.
This year’s team started with a blueprint. “I wanted someone in each class. I wanted some freshmen, I wanted to sophomore, some juniors, and I want some seniors,” Ingle said.
Ingle said his three seniors have a real shot at graduating and being the first in their families to earn a college degree.
One of the first challenges as coach of a new team is to come up with a schedule.
“About this time last year, we had three basketball players and six basketballs,” he said. “So, I’m calling everybody and they are thinking that the new team will be an easy win. They wanted us to be their homecoming game.”
“We called 161 (NCAA) Division I schools to see if they would play Dalton State College. Only three gave us any kind of attention.”
“We started this thing with six scholarships,” the speaker said. Local fundraising enabled an increase in scholarships.
“In May, I hired (assistant coach) John Redman. He came in and immediately added Ricky Sears and then he added Demetrice Jacobs. Finding seniors is tough.”
“You recruit great players and you’re going to be great. You recruit sorry players and you’re going to be sorry,” Ingle said.
Tony Ingle Jr. has found a job in the Whitfield County Schools that allows him to help as a volunteer assistant coach.
Bandy Gym was being renovated, forcing coaches to scramble to find a place for practice.
New Hope, Eastbrook Middle School’s old gym, the county recreation center gym off of Hill Road, Northwest Whitfield High, Christ Church Presbyterian Church, and the trade center were used for practice until Bandy was available in January.
“You don’t let what you don’t have interfere with what you can do,” Ingle said. He then praised the new Bandy “as a great place to practice every day. It makes you proud to show to recruits.”
“Leaving a legacy is very important,” Ingle told the Kiwanians. “What you get is gone when you’re gone, what you give is your legacy.”
“I have five sisters who all have the same mother and father, but I have friendships that are just as strong as my relationships with my sisters, with my parents, to people that I am biologically connected to,” said Ingle.
“I love being called a coach. A coach is a carrier. Everyone in this room is a coach. I think a coach is a leader and I think you are a coach,” said Ingle.
“A coach is someone who has the ability to have a vision, to persuade, to guide, lead, and walk beside” Ingle added. “It’s been said ‘ignore me and I’ll forget you, encourage and I’ll always remember you, inspire me and I’ll love you forever.”
Ingle said he built the 2013-2014 Roadrunners with trust. “In war,” he said. “You want someone in that foxhole who you can trust.”