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Bottger to be Inducted into NATYCAA, NACDA Halls of Fame

May 31, 2012

Bob Bottger  
Bob Bottger, former athletics director at
Meramec, will be inducted into both the
NATYCAA and NACDA Halls of Fame near
the end of June. 

Bob Bottger, the man behind the scenes of success in athletics over the past two decades at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, will finally get his due credit in June.

The former longtime athletics director at Meramec will be inducted into the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) Hall of Fame on June 25. The following day, Bottger will be inducted into the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame.

Bottger has held leadership positions with both organizations. He is the former president of the NATYCAA and served on the NACDA Executive Committee while with Meramec.

Bottger oversaw a tremendous run of success during his 21 years as athletic director with Meramec, a run that was highlighted by five highly successful longtime coaches – Ric Lessman (baseball), Ron Mirikitani (wrestling), Jeff Karl (women’s soccer), Celeste Knierem (softball) and Randy Albrecht (men’s basketball). All five served more than 20 years with Meramec, and are among the NJCAA win leaders in their respective sports.

It’s that level of continuity that played a leading role in the success of those programs. To Bottger, establishing long-term leadership in athletics is vital when searching for long-term success.

“I think the role of the coach at the two-year level is so crucial,” Bottger said. “The turnover is incredible and the amount of teaching that is done is so much more than at a four-year school.”

Albrecht, who served on the committee who hired Bottger, collected a majority of his 713 junior college victories while working for Bottger and credits his former boss for popularizing the Athletics department while at the helm at Meramec.

“Bob did a nice job of promoting the program within the Meramec campus,” Albrecht said. “(But) he ended up as regional director because he was concerned about region and national reach also, not just local issues.”

Additionally, Bottger served as the president of the Midwest Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC) from 2002-2005.

Albrecht credits Bottger for his professionalism and the rapport he maintained with all coaches, without favoring specific programs.

“You always got your say with Bob,” Albrecht said. “You may not always get precisely what you hoped for, but he let you say your piece. He was a great communicator, and as a coach, he kept you organized and kept you working ahead.”

During his tenure at Meramec, the Magic secured the MCCAC All-Sports Trophy nine times.

For his efforts, Bottger was named the Central District Athletic Director of the Year in 1999, 2005 and 2010 by the NACDA.

Bottger’s influence on athletics remains, as two of his hires – Tony Dattoli (baseball) and Shelly Ethridge (women’s basketball) – remained as head coaches of their respective sports after STLCC moved to a districtwide athletics program in 2011.

Before coming to Meramec, Bottger had already established himself as a successful athletic administrator and coach while at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Fla. There, he served as athletic director, and swimming and diving coach. During his time at Indian River, the swimming and diving and tennis teams combined for 22 national championships.
Bottger was inducted into the NJCAA Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 1993.

Bottger remains humble regarding his accomplishments, and is quick to credit those around him for the department’s success.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Bottger said of his impending inductions. “I worked with a lot of good people for a long time. It’s a nice reward after 41 years (in athletics).”

Both the NACDA and NATYAA ceremonies will take place in Houston, Texas.