OTTUMWA — Frank Huston was already planning on being busy Friday night during the Class 5A state softball championship game. Now, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has made sure the legendary Ottumwa coach will be part of the championship festivities
Huston has been named the 2013 softball recipient of the IGHSAU’s Golden Plaque of Distinction Award. The 40-year Bulldog head softball coach will receive the award before the start of the 5A state championship game Friday night, which is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
The IGHSAU Golden Plaque of Distinction Award honors the Iowa coach who has demonstrated a successful career while making notable contributions toward school, community and the coaching profession. This year, 2013, marks the first time that a softball coach will receive this award.
Huston is one of the most successful coaches in America. He has led 27 teams to the state tournament and has won two state titles while finishing fourth or better 14 times.
In 47 seasons of coaching softball, he has over 1,673 victories, ranking second nationally only to former ADM and Cedar Rapids Jefferson coach Larry Niemeyer.
Huston is finishing his 40th season at Ottumwa and 47th overall. The Sioux City native started the Bulldog softball program in 1974 and were state champions in softball in 1976. He graduated from Northern Iowa in 1966 and taught business education at Gladbrook, Pekin and Ottumwa. He was also a successful basketball coach with 396 career wins in the sport.
Huston is a hall of fame basketball and softball coach. He was named to Iowa Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1994 and is also a member of the Girls Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was named the National Softball Coach of the Year.
Of course, Huston hopes to make the pregame festivities part of a very celebratory night for Ottumwa softball fans as the third-ranked Bulldogs (36-6) will hope to be playing in the 5A title game that follows the awards presentation. Ottumwa opens play in the 5A State Softball Tournament on Tuesday night in Fort Dodge against No. 10 Cedar Rapids Jefferson (31-11) on Diamond 2 at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Park.