Assistant softball coach Bill Otton said he will stop coaching when it stops being fun. “But as of right now, I don’t see it ever being not fun,” Otton said.
Otton is back for his 32nd season with Marshfield softball. According to senior captain Khalani Hoyer, Otton’s many years of experience have helped create a culture of respect on the team and closeness between players.
“Bill is really the heart of the program. There isn’t a single practice that I don’t see him on the field working with the team getting every player to improve their abilities and play hard 100 percent of the time,” Hoyer said. “He is always encouraging the team and is just a great influence to have grown up with.”
Otton has left a lasting impact on the program since he started it in 1984 with colleague Jerry Young.
“Jerry approached me with the opportunity to start a softball program at Marshfield,” Otton said. “I loved the idea and things took off from there.”
Since then, Otton has been involved in coaching every year.
While the softball team now plays its games at a field near the ESD building in Coos Bay, that was not always the case.
“When I started, we played on the Mingus Park field,” Otton said. “That was a long time ago.”
Marshfield softball has been an annual contender for the Far West League since they joined in 2013. Fellow assistant coach Floyd Montiel credits much of the program’s success to the work Otton has put in over the years.
“Without him, none of this would have ever even gotten started,” Montiel said. “He has an important role on the team each year, and is very valuable to the program.”
Montiel credits Otton for being very versatile, doing whatever needs to be done not only for the team, but also in the community.
“Bill is a tireless worker, for the team and the community as well,” Montiel said. “He’ll do whatever you ask of him whenever you ask it. You ask him to do something for you, he’ll never, ever say no.”
Otton said he recalls some of his most special moments with the softball program being the relationships he has built with the players over the years.
“The relationships built are what last forever,” Otton said. “It is very cool to get a call from a former player, checking up on me.”
Otton said he has been a softball coach for 38 years, and as far as retiring and moving on, he does not see a reason to, as long as he is enjoying what he is doing. Getting to help young athletes succeed in life and sport is something that will never grow old, he said.
“It is my passion, it’s what I like to do,” Otton said. “It is something I plan on doing for the rest of my life.”