Oktay Akbay

Oktay Akbay

  • Year Inducted : 2004
  • Sport : Soccer

About Inductee


As much as anybody and more than most, Oktay Akbay of Huntsville can lay legitimate claim to the label of Huntsvilles Mr. Soccer. A former teacher at Huntsville High School, Akbay taught American history, world history, government, economics, psychology and sociology during his 25 years on the HHS faculty. He is best remembered, however, as the man who brought the sport of soccer to the Huntsville city school system. He organized and coached boys and girls soccer at Huntsville High as a labor of love, persevering through the lean early years and eventually developing one of the finest programs in the state. I have always believed soccer has a place in high school athletics, he says. Akbay coached boys soccer at Huntsville High from 1975 until 1995, winning 209 games while losing only 68 and tying 24. He won several city championships and was named the citys coach of the year in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1988. His 1985 Crimson Panthers went undefeated and won the state championship, beating Grissom 4-2 in the finals. The highlight of 1986 was a shootout victory over previously unbeaten Pelham. He coached one second-team high school All-American player (Tony Dean) and three Gatorade players of the year for the state of Alabama (Goudarz Vassigh, Will League and David Harlan). Akbay was born Jan. 1, 1942, in Tirilye, Turkey. The family later moved to America, and young Oktay graduated from Chattanooga City High School in 1962. He went on to college at Berry in Rome, Ga., graduating with a B.A. degree in 1967. Akbay introduced the worlds most popular sport to Berry, winning 15 of 20 games as a player-coach and being named the teams most valuable player in 1963. He received a Masters degree at Alabama A & M in 1972. Three years later, he talked Huntsville High administrators into fielding a soccer team and the rest is history. After Akbay retired, a new soccer-building behind the schools two soccer fields was renamed Akbay Field House. With a new HHS being built on the site, the building and the fields are only a memory now, but officials say a new soccer building bearing Akbays name is on the blue prints. Akbay is married to Reyan D. Akbay and they have two daughters, Ozlem A. Akbay Williams and Cigdem N. Akbay, both of Huntsville, and two granddaughters.

Related Players