Former Owl hired as athletic director at Trinity


Andy Denny always knew he wanted to get back into athletics. He just wasn’t sure when the right opportunity would present itself.

One day while at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour, Denny saw in the bulletin that Trinity Lutheran High School was looking for an athletics director.

Not long after, he was hired to fill that role for the school.

“I ran an insurance business and semi-retired from it a couple years ago,” Denny said. “I was sitting in Immanuel and saw in the informer that (Trinity) wanted a soccer coach, tennis coach and athletic director. The previous person, Aaron (Rudzinski), got a call to Colorado, and he took that call. I came in and talked to Clayton (Darlage, principal) about it, and it kind of worked out.”

Denny grew up in Seymour and was a standout basketball player in high school before graduating in 1968.

He still ranks in the top 10 for several basketball school records, including first in points per game for a career (19.24) and third for career points (1,347). Denny started playing on the varsity team as a sophomore and helped the team win a sectional championship in 1967. That season, Denny scored 567 points (fourth best in school history), averaging 23.6 points per game (third best for season).

Denny also played three years of baseball at Seymour High School and was on the team’s first sectional championship team in 1967.

After graduating from high school, he played NCAA Division I basketball for the University of South Alabama.

He was a member of the second varsity basketball program at South Alabama, playing four seasons for the Jaguars while establishing several school records that still stand today.

Denny currently ranks No. 5 on the Jaguars’ all-time scoring list with 1,352 points. He averaged 18 points per game through 75 contests, which puts him third career-wise. He holds the school record for free-throw percentage with 85.3 percent after making 284 of 333 attempts. He also ranks No. 5 all-time on the rebounding list with 545 rebounds

He led the Jaguars in scoring in 1971, free throw percentage in ’71 and ’72, rebounding in ’70, field goal percentage in ’70 and ’71 and assists in ’72.

He currently owns the school’s single-season free throw percentage mark, 91.4 percent, by making 117 of 128 free throws in 1972.

After graduating from college in 1972, Denny was drafted by the NBA’s Buffalo Braves. He was drafted in the eighth round as the 115th overall pick.

In that draft, Bob McAdoo was taken by the Braves with the second pick, Julius Erving was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks at 12 and Jim Price got taken at No. 16 by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Braves were led by hall of fame coach Jack Ramsay at the time.

“I played in their exhibition games,” Denny said of the Braves. “A week before the season, the coach, Jack Ramsay, called us into a hotel room in Erie (Pennsylvania). We were playing the Cleveland Cavaliers. He brought us in and told us that the owners were going to cut the roster back from 14 to 10. Everyone else had a 14-man roster at that time in the NBA. I didn’t have a no-cut contract. My roommate and I looked at each other and said we think we’re going home, and we were right.”

Denny decided to go back to South Alabama for more schooling.

“I came back and got my master’s degree at South Alabama,” Denny said. “I was a freshman coach and then got a head coaching job in Mobile, Alabama. I was there a few months and then a college job opened up at Samford University. The head coach from New Albany that won state (in 1973), Kirby Overman, and I went down there together as assistants. I was there two and a half years and then came back here. We wanted to raise our kids in Seymour.”

Denny and his family came back to Seymour in 1975. He then worked in insurance for more than 40 years.

In 1989, he was inducted into the inaugural South Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame class.

More recently, Denny moved to Columbus from Seymour.

“We moved about four and a half years ago because my kids and grandkids live there,” Denny said. “My grandkids go to St. Peter’s.”

Connected to Bartholomew County, Denny looks to help expand its programs.

“I talked to Clayton about bonding a bigger relationship with Bartholomew County through St. Peter’s, St. Bartholomew and the middle school kids,” Denny said. “We still want to serve the Jackson County kids and parents but want to reach out and grow the school. Probably the best way to grow the school is by adjoining counties.”

Denny said he is looking to a few peers in Columbus for advice in his first year.

“Jeff Hester, the athletic director at (Columbus) North, I’m pretty close with him,” he said. “Paul Ferguson, the basketball coach (at North), I’m really close to him because my grandkids play summer ball for him. I’m really close to the North program.

“I know (girls basketball coach) Danny Brown really well at Columbus East. We used to play AAU ball together. I’m also really good friends with (East football coach) Bob Gaddis. I will probably lean on him a lot. We play golf together and sometimes have dinner together. He was athletic director and is a great coach that developed a great program. We would like to kind of bring that philosophy down here.”

Denny started his position last week and met with the fall coaches for the first time earlier this week.

“I’m going to sit back the first year and evaluate,” Denny said. “My job is to help them be successful. You have to have talent. You can’t win without talent. I can help bring talent in from the seventh and eighth grades. We’re not looking at going after kids that are already in high school. We’re not trying to recruit them because they’ve already made a decision. We’re not going to steal players from freshman on up. If a player calls us and isn’t happy, we will contact their administration and let them know that we got a phone call, and I hope they would do the same for us. We want to build from within in the lower grades.”

Some people who influenced Denny are from the Seymour community.

“I had great coaches in high school,” he said. “Men like Barney Scott and his assistant, Dick Stickles. (Stickles) moved up to a varsity assistant when I came up as a sophomore. John Britton, my baseball coach, was such a great guy. I was lucky to go through a time when we had such great coaches, guys with character and integrity. We want to carry that on here.”

Denny said he still has tight connections in Jackson County.

“I grew up here,” Denny said. “I have friends in Columbus, but all of my boyhood friends are here (in Seymour). Almost all of our family has stayed here. It is a good community with good people. There are great athletic facilities and athletic programs.”

Andy and his wife, Carol, have two kids and four grandkids.

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