It is with mixed feelings and much gratitude that we announce the retirement of Otto Dietrich as the National Rules Commissioner for USA Racquetball after this year.
As paraphrased from https://www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball/how-to-play/rules/ask-otto, “Otto Dietrich has been a member of USA Racquetball's National Rules Committee continuously…since 1982. Six years after first being appointed to the committee, he became the sport's National Rules Commissioner -- a title that he has held ever since, except for the five years (1998 - 2003), when he stepped aside to serve as the USRA's National President.”
A USAR Hall of Fame Member (Class of 2017), Otto has been a staple in USA Racquetball across multiple generations. As noted in his Hall of Fame profile at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Racquetball/Programs/Hall-of-Fame/Inductees/2017, Otto has…
… served as a State Director and the Rules Commissioner in Georgia for more than twenty years, beginning his long and faithful service to the sport in 1980. In short order, Dietrich was asked to serve on the USAR National Rules Committee (1982) and then, right after being appointed to fill a National Board vacancy in 1985, he was named the sport’s National Rules Commissioner.
As a National Board Member, Dietrich served as the USRA’s treasurer for two years until 1998 when the Board selected him to be the USRA’s National President for the next five years.
During his active and extensive refereeing career, Dietrich was Chief Referee at every U.S. Olympic Festival and many IRF international events. His lengthy referee resume includes officiating at seven World Championships and three Pan American Games as well as presiding over more than 100 National Championship matches and countless numbers of local, regional, and other national level matches.
Many players and fans may recall seeing Dietrich reffing many televised matches in the 1980s that involved both men’s and women’s pro finals, such as the DP Nationals, as well as many USAR National Championships. Chosen to be the U.S. Team Leader for several international team competitions, Dietrich received the prestigious Joe Sobek Contribution Award in 1986 for his many contributions to the sport. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Dietrich organized and ran many local, state, and regional events.
In more recent years, Dietrich has become known around the globe for his friendly and efficient running of tournament desks at IRF events as well as at many USA Racquetball national regional, state, and local events.
Thousands of players may recall receiving a personal response to their emailed questions on rules and refereeing by this foremost expert on both subjects. Those many questions and answers have often served as the basis for Dietrich’s "What's the Call" column for Racquetball magazine, which Dietrich has written from 1987 through 2020.
Dietrich is also known for co-authoring Officiating Racquetball, the sport’s first and only book to interpret a variety of refereeing situations. Further, he has been the public address announcer for the US OPEN from its start in 1998 through 2019.
Dietrich has also kept, edited, and prepared the USAR Official Rules & Regulations of Racquetball for publication throughout his long career as National Rules Commissioner.
Otto has been a staple in USA Racquetball across multiple generations. Having worn many hats throughout the organization, Otto’s role as public address announcer at the US OPEN is one that stands out in my head going all the way back to the Memphis days and his guidance and stewardship of the official USAR rules is the fine legacy he will leave behind.
So please raise a glass of whatever beverage you so choose and join me in wishing Otto the relaxing retirement he deserves after giving so much of his life and his time to the sport we all love!
If you are interested in being the next USA Racquetball’s National Rules Commissioner for USA Racquetball, please submit your interest to Stewart Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details will be provided to those who inquire, and watch for an important upcoming announcement via email and social media!