When the Dalton State Athletic Department needed a home upon its arrival on campus in 2012, the Carpet and Rug Institute at 730 College Dr., which had recently been purchased by the Dalton State Foundation, was a great fit. The Foundation generously gifted the property to the Dalton State Athletic Club, Inc., which is the not-for-profit corporate arm of Dalton State athletics.
While this development was instrumental towards building a home for Dalton State athletics, the John Willis Mashburn Charitable Trust then stepped up to fund renovations to the building to make it an “athletic center.”
Officials said the Mashburn Trust "has been the engine behind the success of Dalton State Athletics and the generosity of the trustees allowed the new athletic center to be the home of the department with five locker rooms, a physical therapy rehabilitation room, coaches’ offices, a players lounge and a big-time recruiting showpiece.
The renovation of the former CRI into an athletic center was included in a large pledge to the athletic department by the Mashburn Trust, but there was one condition to that donation; that the athletic center be named for former Roadrunner head basketball coach, athletic director, professor and athletic pioneer, Melvyn Ottinger.
Officials stated, "This naming and honor is a perfect fit for a man who has dedicated his life to making athletics such an important part of the greater Dalton community. He literally started Dalton Junior College athletics from scratch and built his Roadrunners into a national power. Coach “O” was the first and only head basketball coach at, then, Dalton Junior College. He led the team to national prominence during his ten year stint compiling a career record of 228 wins and 78 losses. Coach 'O' has called Dalton home ever since retiring from the faculty at Dalton State. He was not only a great coach, but a great citizen and advocate for athletics in the community."
Athletic Director Derek Waugh said, “Coach O was not only a major part of the past, but he has been instrumental in bringing athletics back to the school at the four year level. His help, mentorship and enthusiasm have been absolutely essential in returning athletics to Dalton State and a major factor in our success. He has been behind the scenes, but oftentimes, those are your most important people. The tradition that Coach O and his teams established and the generosity of the Mashburn Trust have been the two most significant reasons why we have had a successful re-birth of college athletics in Dalton. I am ecstatic that we will be calling the Ottinger Athletic Center home.”
Mr. Ottinger said, “I am amazed to be recognized with this tremendous honor,. Those who know me, know that I am generally not at a loss for words, but in this circumstance, I am. I am so proud to be a part of this community and to have played a small part in the growth and popularity of athletics in this community. I thank the Mashburn Trust for this humbling gesture and of course, my wife, Marilyn for always being by my side and making all this possible. I am a blessed man, and look forward to seeing a lot of great student-athletes utilize the Ottinger Athletic Center.”