DOTHAN, Ala. — Coach Johnny Oppert played a monumental role in Wallace Community College athletics for 26 years. He was the athletic director, a coach and now his name is forever ingrained on the new athletic facility.
Johnny Oppert started the athletic programs at Wallace in 1965.
He coached basketball, baseball, golf, and p.e. for the Govs.
Tuesday, the school celebrated the opening of the new Coach Johnny Oppert Athletic Development Facility.
“It’s just so great to see all the former players and all the people who came out here to see the facility,” Oppert said. “Thankfully they decided to put my name on it. I’m very thankful for that. It’s just very special.”
The almost 10,000 square-foot indoor facility will be utilized by both the baseball and softball teams.
A goal of the facility is to attract new recruits.
“It’s going to help our team as far as recruiting,” Head Baseball Coach Mackey Sasser said. “That’s the main thing. They come in here and they see this new facility, this nice facility. It’s a plus for the college.”
Another intention is for the teams to have a space to practice during inclement weather.
“We’re going to be able to use this, you know the past two or three years we’ve had just rain storm after rain storm after rain storm and it’s usually in January or February when we really have to workout and be outside,” Sasser said. “This facility is big enough for us to do everything inside that we can do outside.”
The facility features three batting lanes with retractable netting to be turned into six, two pitching mounds and space for infield drills.
“This will be a great recruiting tool for our future Lady Govs and for our baseball program,” Head Softball Coach David Russo said. “To honor the legacy of Coach Oppert, he’s probably one of the finest men that I’ve ever come across in my entire life and to be able to work in a facility that bears his name just means so much to all of us here at the college.”
Oppert, a Dothan High graduate, is a member of the Alabama Community College Conference Hall of Fame, Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame, Samford University Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Houston Academy Hall of Fame.
Also on oppert’s impressive list of accolades, the Govs great spent a few years in the Dodgers organization.
Now his namesake athletic facility is the first of its kind within the Alabama Community College Conference, according to Wallace staff.