Former Dickson County High School girls basketball coach Melton Self, whose name is on the gym, was recently inducted into the Austin Peay Athletics Hall of Fame.
One of Self’s players that helped to build his basketball success was Eve Hamilton, who later had her own successful career as the Lady Cougars coach.
Dickson County named the high school gym after Self in 2004 and his widow, Mary Anne, said that “he was so proud and so pleased because his first love was football, but he took over the basketball team and really turned the program around.
“He would ask to go by the gym to see if his name was still on the gym.”
Both Mary Anne and Jerry Bishop spoke on Self’s behalf during the hall of fame induction ceremony.
“During his hall of fame induction and even at his funeral I saw a lot of love and respect for him,” Mary Anne said. “All of the athletes that played for him wanted to be coached by him because they knew they would get that respect back as long as they respected him. All he had to do was look at them with those eyes and they’d behave.”
Melton Self received a football scholarship from Austin Peay in 1947 and started at left guard the entire time he played there. Self returned to his home in Dora, Ala., after his freshman year at Austin Peay and almost stayed there, but then decided that a life of coal mining was not for him. He hitchhiked back to Clarksville.
“Pound for pound the best football player to ever play at Austin Peay,” former teammate and Austin Peay hall of famer George Fisher said.
His former coach, David Aaron, said. “Melton Self was the toughest football player I ever coached.”
Self graduated from Austin Peay in 1951 and went on to serve in the Air Force for two years. He came to Dickson with his wife, who was from Charlotte. They met in his junior year at college and were married a little over a year later.
Self spent 30 years coaching and teaching in Dickson County. He admitted to not having even seen a girls basketball game before he started coaching, but traveled to coaching clinics and even visited Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp for guidance about coaching basketball.