By ANDY HEINTZ Courier sports writer
---- — FORT DODGE — Before his Ottumwa softball team faced Ankeny for third place in the Class 5A state softball tournament, Coach Frank Huston added yet another honor to his already hefty portfolio of accomplishments.
The legendary Ottumwa coach became the first softball coach to ever receive the Golden Plaque of Distinction Award from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. The award is given to those who have been successful in their profession while also making contributions to schools and the community.
Huston has just finished his 40th season as coach of Ottumwa and his 47th year of coaching. In his venerable career, he has compiled a whopping 1,674 victories. The Ottumwa skipper’s massive win total ranks him second nationally, trailing only former ADM and Cedar Rapids Jefferson coach Larry Niemeyer.
Huston has led the Bulldogs to two state championships and 27 state tourney appearances. He was voted into the Iowa Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1994, and he was named National Softball coach of the year in 1990. The Bulldog skipper started the Ottuwma softball program in 1974 and guided the Bulldogs to their first championship in 1976.
Huston, as is his modus operandi, outsourced the credit for his award to the players, parents and fans that have helped him build the sturdy foundation that Ottumwa’s esteemed progam has rested on over the years.
“Personally that’s a great honor,” Huston said. “It’s a tribute to all the players through the years and their parents and our fan base.”
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