The 51st Dixie Basketball Camp
is dedicated to the memory of former camper Sid Ortis.
The Alabama teen who succumbed to cancer this past fall
was featured by Tom Rinaldi on ESPN's College GameDay.
Dear Parents and Campers,
The 50th year of the World Famous Dixie Basketball Camp
and Country Club last July was amazing. Many former
Dixie campers and coaches came back to Southwest CC to
help us celebrate, and Dr. Steve Bishop, President of
SMCC, gave us a plaque commemorating the 50 years, 42
years of which has been on his campus. Ron Higgins, a
former Dixie camper, wrote a beautiful article, in the
New Orleans Times Picayune, telling the story of the
General and his stamp on our camp the past 50 years. It
was a fun summer.
My late father, Joe Dean, Sr., would have enjoyed the
celebration last summer. He started directing this
legendary camp in 1966 and put his own stamp of
discipline, enthusiasm, and spirit on a camp experience
that he hoped would inspire young boys to work harder to
be the very best they could be. We still run Dixie the
exact same way the original General did 50 years ago.
Yes, we’re old school, but as our current Dixie campers
know, “old school is cool”.
After Dixie ended last summer, I went back to Birmingham
and took some time one day in August to go visit Sid
Ortis. Sid attended the Dixie Basketball Camp for three
summers and was a 16-year student at Mountain Brook High
School. Sid was diagnosed with bone cancer in August of
2014, and his story of faith and courage captured the
hearts of people all over the south. Les Miles invited
Sid to sit in his box for an LSU football game in
September, as the Ortis family are loyal Tiger fans.
On October 31, 2015, Sid Ortis went to be with the Lord
in Heaven. Before he died, his mom, Lynn, asked him to
send her a sign from Heaven that he was OK. Sid told her
he would send lady bugs. On Sunday, November 1st, the
day after Sid passed away, his parents, Lynn and Scott Ortis, attended church, and to their amazement, the
church staff was complaining of annoying creatures that
were crawling across the projector in the sanctuary –
This summer, the Dixie Basketball Camp will be dedicated
to the memory of Sid Ortis. On the front of the Dixie
camp t-shirts will be the “Sid Strong” symbol, which
became a symbol of support for Sid during his ordeal. I
plan to use Sid’s incredible story of faith, courage,
and determination to inspire all of us. Since Sid was a
huge LSU fan, the shirts, this summer for the first time
ever, will be in Purple and Gold.
So, for the 51st summer, let me invite you to be a part
of a legendary basketball camp experience, one stocked
full of inspiring stories, excessive enthusiasm, and old
school discipline and work ethic. It will again be a
week you will never forget. See you in July.
Joe Dean Jr.
Camp Director (General II)