Charlie Melton is perhaps best known as the successful coach of the Clinton High bowling team, since the Kingpins have won six state titles.
It’s a job he’s excelled at since 2005. On the lanes or off, he’s a proven winner. Melton wears many hats in the Clinton Public School District (CPSD). But all of that hard work in Clinton Arrows Country is coming to an end. Coach Melton recently announced his retirement in 2021.
There will be big shoes to fill for CPSD administrators. Melton has served as an assistant baseball coach for the Clinton Junior High baseball team the past dozen years. He’s also served as a bus driver for the district for fourteen years.
And, to top off his list of notable achievements, Melton proudly taught an automotive class at the Clinton Career Complex. His students won the AAA Ford Competition eight of the twelve years it took part in such events. During the latest competition, his class of Clinton teens ranked sixth in the U.S.
From baseball to bowling, from driving a bus to a stellar teaching performance at the Clinton Career Complex, Melton achieved big things.
Retirement is bittersweet.
“Upon retirement, I am going to miss all of the students that I was fortunate to teach and everything I was able to do with my automotive program,” Melton said.
“It is a time in my life that I will always be proud of and feel like I made a difference in changing students’ lives for the better,” he says. “I will also miss all the faculty and staff that I have worked with over the years, that have become like family to me.’’
He’s hopeful Clinton school officials hire an instructor who will “have the same love and passion for the students and the program that I did.”
What’s next for Charlie Melton? Upon retirement, he will stay involved repairing vehicles. He’s also taking a class on bee keeping in March. It’s a skill that’s been a hobby since he was a kid.
“No matter what I decide to do in the coming years, I know that I will do it to the best of my ability, as I did with teaching in the Clinton Public School District.’’
Charlie is also busy on the home front. He and his wife, Dr. Betsy Melton, are the parents of three children.
Those who know him say replacing Melton after serving as the automotive instructor at the Clinton Career Complex for nearly nineteen years won’t be easy, nor will filling a vacancy for the all-star coach.
Clinton Athletic Director Brian Fortenberry lauds Melton for his many accomplishments.
“We are very grateful to Coach Melton for all he has done with our student-athletes,” Fortenberry said. He’s grown the Arrow and Lady Arrow Kingpins into “two of the most consistently successful bowling programs in the state. We wish him well in his retirement and will miss him.”
Sandy Cade, a former girls assistant coach with the Clinton High Kingpins, is another Melton fan.
“He’s just a great guy. He really cares about the kids,” Cade said. “He’s an inspirational coach. He took lots of time with the students.”
Two of Sandy’s children were members of the Clinton Kingpins. Austin Busby, now 25, was a team captain for the boys squad. Cera Cade, now 21, was the girls team captain. A former Clinton Park Elementary educator, Sandy Cade now works at the Fannin Lanes Bowling Center in Brandon. It was the venue hosting the state’s regional and championships this year.
Bowling, she said, “is very exciting to watch as a spectator sport.” That was the case every year with Charlie Melton as the Clinton Kingpins head coach.
Melton isn’t the only one exiting the bowling alley. Tim Brown is also stepping down after working with Melton for six seasons as the assistant coach. Brown, a full-time employee with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, lauds Melton’s service.
“He’s one of the few coaches I ever met who is unwavering in his Christian beliefs,” Brown said. “He’s well-versed in everything he does. He loves the kids.”
Members of the Clinton High family thanked Melton and Brown and celebrated the bowling team’s achievements at a banquet in late February at Parkway Baptist Church in Clinton.