Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The New Boston School Board dedicated its new gymnasium Tuesday evening to former high school basketball coach Homer Pellegrinon.
Steve Jenkins, a former New Boston coach, knew Pellegrinon well and has recorded the school’s entire basketball history in a book published last year. He said that as a student at New Boston, Pellegrinon was a member of the basketball team that advanced to the state tournament in 1938. Pellegrinon became head coach in 1952 and led the basketball team to another state tournament. In 1968, Pellegrinon lured Jenkins away from Ironton to be his assistant basketball coach. In 1970, he retired as head coach with a career 273-101 coaching record for 18 seasons with the Tigers.
Jenkins followed Pellegrinon as head basketball coach, and kept it until 1986. He called Pellegrinon a big influence in his life.
“I think he was probably one of the most successful basketball coaches in southern Ohio,” Jenkins said. “I played under him, and I had always really admired him. He taught me a lot of stuff about how to coach basketball. I think he’s very deserving. You don’t like to use (the word) icon very often, but he’s an icon for New Boston. He’s the guy that when you think of New Boston basketball, you automatically think of Homer Pellegrinon.”
Pellegrinon passed away on July 2, 1995, at the age of 75.
Last year the school district closed the doors on the Tiger Den gymnasium in Glenwood High School — where Pellegrinon played and coached for more than 30 years — and moved into a new school building near the New Boston Stadium. The school board last year approved a resolution to name their new, larger gymnasium the Homer Pellegrinon Gymnasium.
The school made it official during halftime of their first home game this season Tuesday night, playing West Union, with a formal dedication ceremony.
Also during halftime, the school surprised Johnnie Steele with special recognition for his contributions to the districts. New Boston Superintendent Mike Staggs said Steele’s Auction conducted the auction of items at Stanton and Oak schools when the district moved to their new building, and owner/auctioneer Johnnie Steele donated his entire paycheck from that job back to the school.
That contribution back to the district, Staggs said, is what helped the school afford new iPads for every student.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.