|Dudley "Duds" Otto
Coach 1968- 1987
|Dudley “Duds” Otto was the father of Owatonna High School hockey. He served as the first coach and was instrumental in building OHS hockey into a highly successful and well-respected program throughout the state.
Otto started OHS hockey in 1968 under extremely adverse conditions. OHS didn’t have an indoor arena until the Four Seasons arena was completed in 1973. Prior to that, OHS conducted practices and games either outside or at Shattuck arena in Faribault.
Otto achieved his first winning season (12-8) in 1970-1971. That team also won the Silver Bay Invitational Christmas Tournament. In 1971-1972 OHS won the Southern Minnesota Hockey League (SMHL) Championship by beating Burnsville 3-2 in overtime. The team compiled a record of 18-4 and went undefeated (13-0) at home (Shattuck).
Otto’s team had continued success in the early 1980s. OHS reached the section finals in 1980-1981 and the semi-finals in 1981-1982 and 1984-1985. The 1981-1982 team was Big Nine Conference Co-Champion. His teams also reached the section quarter-finals ten times. Otto originated the Owatonna Hockey Holiday Classic, and when he retired from coaching in 1987, his coaching record was 232-177-9. Otto is a past Secretary and President of the Minnesota State Hockey Coaches Association. In 1993 he was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 1997 Otto was given the Cliff Thompson Award for long-term and outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in Minnesota.
During his tenure, Otto coached several players who went on to have outstanding college hockey careers, including eleven from the 1971-1972 SMHL championship team alone. His former players and coaches remember “Duds” as a tremendous mentor—tough, but always honest and fair—who brought out their best efforts in hockey and in life.
Otto is a native of South St. Paul, where he played high school hockey and participated in two State Tournament trips. The 1958 team placed 3rd in State, and Otto was selected WCCO All-State goalie. He went to college at the University of North Dakota and was the goalie on their 1963 national championship team. Otto and his wife, Emma, reside in Owatonna.