Sports Columns

July 11, 2014

Devin Golden: Todd leaving a legacy of success

To many, Charles Todd is known as “coach Todd.” Some of the divers, swimmers and water polo players who have been on his teams in the Dalton area over the years shorten that to simply “coach.”

Then there is the royal title given by a 2012 Dalton High School graduate and seven-time Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state swimming champion who earlier this year finished a strong freshman season at the University of Georgia.

“Taylor Dale calls me ‘THE Charles Todd’ with a capitalized ‘THE,’” Todd said.

Ethan Young, a swimmer who has been coached by Todd at Dalton Middle School and Dalton High School as well as with the USA Swimming-sanctioned Carpet Capital Aquatic Club (CCAC) and the Chattanooga Area Swim League’s (CASL) Dalton Dolphins, simply calls him “Charles.”

The name used by the 16-year-old Young is a sign not of equality, but friendship. It isn’t just a coach-swimmer relationship between Young and his coach. It’s a lot more.

That can happen when you’re talking about a man who, when you were 3 or 4 years old, taught you to swim — and has been in your life ever since.

“He’s more than a coach,” Young said. “... He’s a friend. I can call and text him about anything and I know he’ll help me.”

After Todd’s 17 years as a figure in the Dalton sports scene, a lot of people have similar feelings toward the long-time coach.

But after Saturday, he’ll be someone else’s “coach Todd.”

Todd accepted a job last week as director of the Chattahoochee Gold, a year-round USA Swimming program, and he’ll take over the metro Atlanta-area team Monday. It’s a bigger organization — he said it has around 800 swimmers, compared to the CCAC’s 130 — and he was drawn by what he said is a significant pay raise.

He plans to still be around the area — he said he and his wife Cindi will not sell their Dalton home for at least a year — and his wife will continue working in Dalton as an adoption specialist for the Division of Family and Children Services. The coach will spend some nights in Dalton and some in the Atlanta area. They have three children — Cara, Chase and Tyler.

“I think most people understand I’m bettering myself and my family,” said coach Todd, who will also leave his position as a physical education and health teacher at Dalton Middle. “They understand it’s an incredible offer. I have some parents who are mad at me.

“I’ll always be Big Red, though.”

He’s certainly done enough — not just for Dalton High swimming, but for the entire northwest Georgia region — to say that.

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