Crowd gathers to honor former coach, educator –
By Wade Linville –
A crowd gathered at Mt. Orab Middle School on Saturday, Dec. 10 to honor one of the Western Brown School District’s greatest coaches of all time. It was the day that the Mt. Orab Middle School gymnasium, which formerly served as the school district’s high school, would take the name of Perry Ogden Gymnasium, the retired girls’ basketball coach who went well beyond his duties to spark new life into what was then a struggling basketball program.
The calling for the Dec. 10 gathering was the highly anticipated Perry Ogden Gymnasium dedication, a chance to honor the retired coach for his many years of hard work and success.
“This is quite an honor,” said Ogden. “Undoubtedly, it is an honor that I did not expect. Even when (Western Brown) Athletic Director (Tim) Cook called me earlier in the year to tell me about this, my first thought was ‘I don’t deserve this. All I’ve done was what my job was supposed to do.’”
“The best part of this honor for me tonight is not necessarily a name on a wall or anything else. It’s the memories I have of these girls (former players) that are standing behind me,” Ogden said as he addressed the crowd on Dec. 10. “I enjoyed all of my experiences of coaching.”
Many players and coaches throughout the decades returned to the old gymnasium where Ogden once coached, some for the first time since it has served as a middle school for the Western Brown School District.
Ogden graduated from Hamersville High School in 1961 where he played high school basketball and baseball, earning all-league honors and considered an “ace” on the mound.
After high school graduation, Ogden took his talents to Georgetown College where he was a pitcher and outfielder.
He came back to Hamersville High School to teach and coach in 1966, heading varsity baseball, basketball, and girls volleyball teams.
He left Hamersville in 1970 to coach basketball and track at Circleville High School, but after only a year at Circleville he would return to the Western Brown School District and took the job as eighth grade boys basketball at Mt. Orab Middle School, coaching teams that finished either first or second in league standings every year.
In 1979, Ogden transferred to Western Brown High School, and in 1980 he was hired to take over a struggling high school girls basketball program.
For the next 14 years, Ogden built the Lady Bronco varsity basketball program into one of the best programs in Southwest Ohio.
As head coach of the Western Brown varsity girls basketball program, he would record a total of 235 wins while leading his teams to nine Clermont County League and Southern Buckeye Conference titles, one district runner-up finish (1988), and a Southwest District Championship in 1994. The district title marks the only one for varsity girls basketball in Western Brown history.
Ogden is not only well known for being an excellent “X’s and O’s” coach, but also for the relationships he built with his players and peers.
Ogden could motivate players like no other, giving high fives to his players at school on game days and doing anything he could to help “pump up” his team for game time.
For more than 30 years, Ogden would own and operate Ogden’s Softball Park that would receive a USSSA Merit Award in 1993. In 2005, Ogden was inducted into the USSSA Softball Legends of the Game Hall of Fame.
Ogden would go on to serve as a Brown County Commissioner from 2001-2009 and helped to make some major changes that have been beneficial to the county.
Perry Ogden and his wife, Candi, were married in 1966 and have four sons – Scott, Steve, Shane, and Shiloh – all who graduated as student/athletes of Western Brown High School.
A sign at the gym entrance guides the way to Perry Ogden Gymnasium, while inside the gymnasium you will see the renovations on the basketball court and on the wall to remind those who enter of Ogden’s coaching years, as well as the players, staff members, family, and friends who all played a role in his success.
In addition to a plaque that will hang in the Mt. Orab Middle School in honor of Ogden, Ohio State Representative Doug Green attended the Dec. 10 court dedication to hand out a proclamation to Ogden on behalf of the Ohio House of Representatives 66th District.
Former players who turned out for the Dec. 10 court dedication included Mike Hanselman (Hamersville class of 1966), Kelly Talbot (class of 1983), Kristi Cornett Smith (class of 1984), Dianna Carroll Fischer (class of 1985), Sue Barber Lane (Class of 1985), May Barber Carrington (class of 1985), Laurie Royalty Orr (class of 1985), Gerri Crowe Bolin (class of 1986), Rae Jean Howser Mount (class of 1986), Diane Kirk Nickell (class of 1988), Kerri Kidwell Young (class of 1989), Wende Frazee (class of 1989), Melissa Nead (class of 1991), Sabrina Tackett Armstrong (class of 1991), Shelby Ayres Heitzman (class of 1991), Stacey Lucas Brinkman (class of 1992), Amy Boler Etienne (class of 1992), Alicia Cropper Shope (class of 1993), Heather McKinney Cooper (class of 1993), Lori Nead Cahall (class of 1993), Hayley Blue (class of 1994), Jill Cropper Brickner (class of 1995), Desiree Black Arn (class of 1996), Amy Brown Hanlon (class of 1996), Diana Brown Hitt (class of 1997), and Kari Harvey Barnes (class of 1997).