An invitation to the Governor’s Executive Mansion in Raleigh for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day celebration on Sept. 24 was not to be missed by Special Olympics Mecklenburg County coaches Tappie and Chuck Dellinger. The elegant venue was the perfect setting to honor such an extraordinary woman. Little did long-time ice skating coach Tappie Dellinger know that Special Olympics North Carolina would also take the opportunity to honor some of its own by awarding seven 2010 SONC state-level awards.
SONC President Keith L. Fishburne stood on the Mansion’s first floor staircase in front of more than 100 Special Olympics family and friends and began to tell Dellinger’s story. Immediately she looked at her husband and tears streamed down her face as she realized she had won the 2010 SONC “Coach of the Year” award.
“I thought to myself ‘oh my goodness he’s talking about me’,” Dellinger said as she recalled the moment. “I was so shocked and humbled and I am very honored. The true honors belong to the wonderful athletes I work with though. I love being a Special Olympics coach. The athletes inspire me every day!”
Dellinger also finished runner-up for the 2010 Special Olympics North America “Coach of the Year” honors.
Dellinger has been a Special Olympics ice skating coach for 28 years. Her passion for Special Olympics athletes can be seen in all her actions and words. She is a patient, upbeat positive coach that pushes the athletes to reach their goals and beyond. She is responsible for building a large team of ice skating athletes in Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. She has secured a practice facility for regular skating time as well. In addition to serving as Games Director for the local and state-level ice skating events, she stepped up to serve as Games Director for the Southeast Region events when NC is asked to host. She is currently in the planning stages for her fifth Southeast competition when SONC hosts the 2011 Southeast Region Ice Skating Tournament in February. She also has been instrumental in getting the sport started in neighboring Union County. She also leads the SONC ice-skating sport development team.
Her dedication to Special Olympics athletes is second to none. She cultivates a love of skating within each athlete and in turn the athletes nuture her love of Special Olympics.
Congratulations Tappie Dellinger – 2010 Special Olympics North Carolina Coach of the Year!