Remembering some of the greatest athletes in MHS history (Mel Counts)

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Mel Counts

While at Marshfield, Counts set the single-game record for points, scoring 50 in a game against Reedsport. After graduating from Marshfield, Counts attended Oregon State University where he was a consensus second team All-American in 1964. Before entering the NBA draft, where he was selected as the seventh overall pick by the Boston Celtics, Counts brought home a gold medal with the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He then went on to start his twelve year NBA career, playing for the Boston Celtics (1964-66), Baltimore Bullets (1966-67), Los Angeles Lakers (1967-70), Phoenix Suns (1970-72), Philadelphia 76ers (1972), Los Angeles Lakers (1972-74) and retiring with the New Orleans Jazz (1974). He is a two-time NBA champion winning in consecutive years with the Boston Celtics. Counts eventually had his number 21 retired at Oregon State University.
Counts considers his greatest athletic accomplishment to be winning a gold medal on the U.S. men’s basketball team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
“The sports writers all said that we weren’t going to win,” Counts said. “We beat the Russians by 13 points against all odds.”
Counts said he has fond memories of his childhood in Coos Bay. He said the city still holds a special place in his heart.
“I used to do a lot of hunting and fishing with my buddies,” Counts said. “We also liked to hitch hike into town and watch movies. Times have changed. You can’t do that anymore.”
Counts said he credits much of his success to his faith in God and said hard work and determination helped shape the man he is today.
“In today’s age we tend to make a lot of excuses,” Counts said. “The best way to find personal satisfaction in life is to help others and just be a good person.”