ROCKY FACE, GA (WRCB) ---" All I am is an old country coach just proud to have a whistle," chuckles Dalton State's Head Basketball Coach Tony Ingle who is affable, self-deprecating, and a winner.
In just his second season at the helm of his alma mater, his Roadrunners are 53 and 8.
This year, at 27 and 4, they're NAIA Tournament bound as a sixth seed.
For Ingle, its all a relative simple recipe
" Care, love, teamwork and togetherness is really the trademark of our success," says the coach from his basketball decorated man-cave in Rocky Face.
But an integral part of the team's formula comes from their coach's architecture.
" How many coaches get a blue print to say build your program ?"
Ingle made his bones rebuilding under performing teams into winners after his playing days at then Dalton Junior College,
After successfully coaching at the high school level, it was off to Gordon Junior College, then the University of Alabama-Huntsville, BYU and then in 2000, back to Georgia at Kennesaw State University before coming home to Dalton in 2013 and putting the carpet capital back on the basketball map.
" Well, its all by design. We didn't just accidentally back into having seven seniors on our team," says Ingle of his senior laden squad.
Ingle credits those players who sacrificed in last year's toils for this season's successes, and one in particular.
" LaDaris Green, came here to help me build this program, a 6'10 young man, who transferred from Kennesaw State University and he ended up being player of the year this year.
While Ingle himself garnered NAIA Coach of the Year honors, making him the only coach in the history of Georgia basketball to be named Coach of the Year at the high school, junior college, N-C-A-A and now N-A-I-A level.
After winning a national championship at Kennesaw in 2004, he's ready for another, this time in Dalton.
" Who knows whats going to happen? I'm ready, because if we don't win, it's pretty simple to me, and it goes from a quote and a poem I learned from my high school coach," recalls Ingle.
"' If at first you don't succeed, blame it on the referees," says the snickering coach.
One thing that concerns Ingle as his team leaves for Kansas City early Monday morning is rest, as the Roadrunners play bright and early Wednesday morning against Wiley College of Texas.