Arthur Dan Pitts passed away peacefully on April 20, surrounded by his family. He was born in Lincoln County, Ga., the oldest child and only son of Isabelle Cartledge Pitts and Arthur Andrew Pitts. He graduated from Lincolnton High School where he enjoyed playing football and baseball for the Red Devils. During his senior year, he was named All State Quarterback. His athletic ability helped him earn a football scholarship to South Georgia College. He completed his education at the University of Georgia, graduating in 1959. During his stint in the U.S.Army, he served in the 8457th Military Police.
In 1957, he married the love of his life, Mary Lynda Stevenson, who was also from Lincolnton. In 1959, having no previous coaching experience, he became the head coach at Mary Persons High School, where he remained for his entire career. He always said he had the best job in the world because he was allowed to do what he loved in a place he loved. Under his leadership, throughout the 39 year career at Mary Persons, his teams compiled 346 wins, 109 losses and 4 ties. The Bulldogs won 15 Region championships and made 4 appearances in the state finals, winning the AA State Championship with an undefeated season in 1980. In 1996, he became the “Winningest Coach in Georgia High School History,” with 316 wins.
Known throughout the state for his fairness and integrity, Coach Pitts was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame. He often said that his membership in the local Hall of Fame meant the most because it involved every player he had ever coached. He was awarded the Atlanta Falcons Lifetime Achievement Award, and the GACA Dwight Keith Award. He was also awarded, by the Atlanta Touchdown Club, the Class AA Georgia High School Coach of the Year Award in 1980 and 1984, and the Georgia High School State Coach of the Year Award in1994. One of his proudest moments was in 2001 when the stadium at Mary Persons was named Dan Pitts Stadium at Mitchell Field.
Coach Pitts was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Mary Lynda Stevenson Pitts. He is survived by his daughters Carolann Pitts Evans (Deck) and Penny Pitts Mitchell (Bob); his grandchildren Anni Evans Horne (Derek), Carl Patrick Burdette, Jr. (Sara), and Daniel Pitts Burdette (Chelsea); his great-grandsons Andrew Pitts Horne, Brantley Vinson Horne, and Skylar Daniel Burdette; sisters Gail Pitts Guillebeau and Ann Pitts Owens both of Augusta; sister-in-law Carolyn Stevenson Link (Bradey) of Cayce, SC; many nieces and nephews and his beloved dog, “Rags.”
Besides his family members, he is survived by the many coaches and players he had the pleasure to work with throughout his career. The family hopes each individual realizes what an impact he had in the life of Coach Pitts.
Services will be held Friday, April 23, graveside in Forsyth City Cemetery at 11:00. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Mary Persons Touchdown Club PO Box 5791 or Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame PO Box 457, Forsyth, GA 31029.
Family may be contacted at the residence 221 Newton Drive in Forsyth.
Monroe County Memorial Chapel has charge of the arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Coach Dan Pitts (Courtesy Obituary), please visit our floral store.