CHARLOTTE - Longtime Charlotte Catholic High School head coach Jim Oddo spoke with Eyewitness News Wednesday about his decision to retire at the end of the school year, and reflected back on his storied career.
“I can’t see things the way that I used to see as a coach and I realize that. [I’m] smart enough to know that much,” Oddo said.
Oddo’s first coaching job was in Florida, at a high school with 1,100 students. He took a job at East Mecklenburg before his years at Catholic.
Oddo admitted the transition from East Meck to Catholic was hard, as East Meck produced a few Division I players per year. When he came to Catholic he had 23 football players and a program to build.
Dick Keffer asked Oddo what number it would take for Catholic to play in the 3A playoffs. Oddo researched and found it would take a 3,100-person stadium. Keffer told him he could help with that.
When the stadium was built, Oddo doubted the stands would be filled. He was wrong.
“Like the old story goes if you build it they will come. And now [the stadium] is filled every Friday, I mean to capacity,” Oddo said.
Forty-one years later, Oddo retires having played in six state championships and winning three. He has over 350 wins all-time at Catholic and has coached over 500 games.
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Oddo said, “Remember that we pride ourselves in being a community. We play hard, we play clean. We represent to the best of our ability.”
Although he will not be coaching this fall, Oddo still plans to be on the sidelines.