Hall of Fame Inductee: Tony Ingle
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Kennesaw State Athletic Department will induct five new members into its Hall of Fame this fall at a ceremony on Friday, Oct. 7 at the Convocation Center on the Kennesaw State campus. Inductees will also be recognized at the Saturday, Oct. 8 KSU football game against North Alabama at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
KSUOwls.com will introduce each inductee before the ceremony, and we continue today with men’s basketball head coach Tony Ingle.
KENNESAW, Georgia – Our third of five new members to be inducted into the Kennesaw State Athletics Hall of Fame this fall is the second in this year’s class to bring home a national championship title to Kennesaw, as Former KSU men’s basketball coach the late Tony Ingle will be officially inducted at this year’s ceremony on Oct. 7.
Ingle, who died Jan. 18, 2021, is the winningest head coach in program history with an overall record of 178-166 in his 11 years with the Black & Gold. Although Owl fans will always remember him for leading Kennesaw State to the 2004 NCAA Division II Championship, those were far from his only notable accomplishments. Ingle not only helped the Owls make the two-year transition to Division I, KSU found success and set .500 conference records in ASUN in its first two years as a Division I program. , including what remains as a program-best (Division I history) 10-10 conference mark in 2005-06. Ingle and KSU held the honor of the second-highest winning percentage of teams that moved from Division II to Division I from 2003 to 2009, a testament to his ability to turn KSU into a top contender.
Under Ingle, the Owls produced ASUN Freshman of the Year Andre Morgan (2005-2006), two All-ASUN selections (Ronell Wooten, 2006-2007 and Markeith Cummings, 2009-2010), two ASUN All-Freshman selections (Kurtis Woods , 2008-2009; Markeith Cummings, 2009-2010) and five ASUN Players of the Week (Markeith Cummings, Jon-Michael Nickerson, Ronell Wooten, Shuan Stegall and Golden Ingle). In 2010, he guided KSU to their first-ever ASUN Tournament semi-final appearance after an upset against top-seeded Lipscomb in the quarter-finals.
Among his many coaching accolades, he was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 2003-04 after the National Championship season and 2002-03 Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year. Under Ingle, the Owls won their only conference title in school history, capturing the 2004 Peach Belt Conference Championship with a 72–70 win over Columbus State.
After leaving KSU, Ingle returned to his hometown of Dalton and became Dalton State’s first men’s basketball head coach. Ingle compiled a 134-33 record in his five seasons with the Roadrunners, including a 2015 NAIA National Championship title.
He is the only coach in Georgia history to be named Coach of the Year at the high school, college, and college levels. After 44 years of coaching, numerous awards and accolades, two national championships and countless lives touched and mentored, Ingle retired in 2018.
Since 2017, Ingle has held a leadership position as a bishop at Dalton Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although he retired from coaching, he continued to take an active role as his church‘s podium leader as well as a public speaker.
Ingle’s coaching career began after his playing career ended as after graduating from Huntingdon College he went on to coach at Northwest Whitfield, Southeast High School and Cherokee High School. In this final stage, he led Cherokee to a Class AAA championship in 1981-82.
In 1985, he began his college coaching career by reintroducing the basketball program at Gordon College and compiled a 61-32 record over his three seasons. He led the Hilltoppers to the all-three state playoffs, reaching the NJCAA Region XVII Championship Game his final season. From there he moved to the University of Alabama-Huntsville for a season before stepping into the big leagues as Roger Reid’s assistant at BYU.
Ingle coached at BYU for eight seasons, helping the Cougars reach five NCAA tournaments while winning three WAC regular season titles and two tournament championships. Midway through his final season with the Cougars, Ingle was handed the reins of head coach for the rest of the year.
After three years out of training, he got the call from former Kennesaw State director of athletics, Dr. Waples. “When he arrived he said he was going to win a national championship for us in five years and I’m sure he won it in four years,” Dr Waples recalled after Ingle’s death. “This race was absolutely amazing. He was one of a kind. He was driven, a great person to be around and a wonderful family. I can’t stress enough that he will be missed.”
Ingle took over a Division II KSU Intermediate team in 2000 and started running, recording 20 wins and a second-place finish in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in his sophomore season. The following year, he added another 20+ win season, another second-place finish, and KSU’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Finally, in his fourth year, he led the Owls to a 35-4 record, a perfect conference season, and a DII NCAA National Championship, Georgia’s only NCAA men’s basketball national championship at any level.