Not many people choose to swim against the tide of conventional wisdom, yet Huston has chosen this path time and time again. So, although this weekend has been full of glowing praise for Huston and the edifice of success he’s built here in Ottumwa over the decades, I figure one more encomium to the Bulldog’s veteran skipper couldn’t hurt.
What’s easy to forget about Huston is how hard the man works.Take a moment to watch him tending to Huston Field in between games and it becomes crystal clear that this is a man who takes pride in everything he does. Then watch his team play softball and it’s clear that sense of pride in one’s work has rubbed off on his players.
Although Huston will holler at his players from time to time, it’s obvious that he really cares about each of them. Unlike some coaches — Bob Knight for example — Huston knows how to criticize his players without demeaning them. He’s found the middle ground between Knight-esque bullying and the trappings of hyper-sensitive political correctness. While sitting in the press box, I have heard Huston praise his players just as much as I have heard him criticize them for swinging at a bad pitch or committing an error. And, through my own personal dealings with him, I know Huston goes out of his way to make sure his players are recognized for their accomplishments.
Ottumwa’s skipper isn’t perfect — he’s riddled with the same hangups and peccadilloes as the rest of us — but he’s an awful good man who has built something really special here in Ottumwa. Congratulations coach for 40 years of success on and off the field.