Our state is proud of its history of producing great basketball coaches. Names such as Bob Huggins, Gale Catlett, Mike D’Antoni, Dan D’Antoni, Joe Retton, Jim Crutchfield and Clair Bee all have ties to our state.
Heck, even the greatest high school basketball coach in the history of the state of New Mexico has ties to West Virginia. Moundsville native Ralph Tasker coached for 49 years in New Mexico, compiling a record of 1,122-291 and winning 12 state titles.
This past week, our state lost one of our great native coaches with the passing of Fayetteville’s Fletcher Arritt. “Fletch” coached and taught at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia for 42 years, compiling a record of 890-283.
He sent over 200 players to Division I programs, including Oak Hill’s Tracy Shelton and P.G. Greene to WVU, Hurricane’s Josh Sowards to WVU, Huntington’s David Wade to Marshall and Logan’s Greg Bartram to Penn State. He also had future Kentucky star Melvin Turpin.
Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan once said of Arritt, ”Quite simply, he has to go down as one of the greatest coaches of all-time.” Former Wichita State, Vanderbilt and South Carolina head coach Eddie Fogler said “Fletch should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated with a major story about him, so everyone will know what a phenomenal man and coach he is.”
Former Marshall player Gary Hines was an assistant coach for Arritt for 22 years. “They loved Coach Arritt in Fayetteville,” remembers Hines. “We used to play Hargrave Military Academy in Fayetteville every year. When the Fork Union vans would roll into town, people would wave, honk horns and there would be signs all over town to welcome him home. The gym was always packed. ”
Hines’ teammate and roommate at FUMA was a post player, Dale Solomon, who went on to play with Clarksburg native Jeff Schneider at Virginia Tech. Another one of his teammates was Mike Quick, who went on to be a football star at North Carolina State and had a successful nine-year career as a wide receiver in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The state of West Virginia, and particularly Fayette County, has always been proud of Fletcher Arritt.
n High school baseball fans from Logan County should be packing the Corridor G roadways and eateries this week with Logan and Man playing in the state tournament at Appalachian Power Park. When I think of baseball success in Logan County, I can’t help but think of former Chapmanville star Danny Godby.
Godby, who played for the Charleston Charlies in 1977, is the last player from Logan County to play in the major leagues. He played with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974 after hitting .344 with Class AAA Tulsa in the American Association.