By Jessica Berlinger
Head coach of the men’s basketball team, Matt Fletcher, led the team to a 17-9 record this season.
For this reason and many others, on Jan. 19 Fletcher was inducted into the Viking Hall of Fame at North Branch Area High School. The Bethany basketball team and coaches all showed up to support the success Fletcher has had, and is continuing to have, as a coach.
Fletcher’s high school has a hall of fame committee, and he heard last year that he was nominated for an award. This year, he received a call that said he had been inducted.
“I think it was a Thursday,” said assistant coach Nick Perrin. “We had practice planned and we knew he wasn’t going to make it because of going to get the award. We had practice planned for the afternoon, but then the three captains thought of going up to see him accept the award. We moved practice to 6 a.m. and then left right after classes were done and got up there just in time to see him accept the award.”
Fletcher had no idea the team would be there.
“Our captains threw out the idea for the team and it sort of seemed like a no brainer because of all the things that coach has done for us,” said junior captain Bradley Rose. “He’s one of those guys that would do anything for us, so making a trip up to the cities was something small we could do to show our support.”
Fletcher has always been around basketball and coaching. His dad coached for 25 years. When he was growing up, he would go to practice with his dad, and that’s where it all started. Fletcher’s dad coached his traveling basketball team but then took an Athletic Director position so he could watch his son play. Fletcher started playing basketball when he was about four years old and continued playing all the way through college. He played at Southwest State in Marshall, Minn.
When Fletcher was 22, he got an assistant coaching job at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. He’s coached ever since then, for three years at a high school and then at three different colleges. This year was his ninth season coaching.
As a coach, Fletcher has had much success. When he coached at Kentucky Wesleyan, a Division II school, he took the team to the Sweet Sixteen. At Upper Iowa University, his team finished fourth in the conference out of 16 teams for three years in a row. Perrin coached with Fletcher at the high school level and at Upper Iowa University for two years, and now here at Bethany.
“I would say I’m pretty competitive,” commented Fletcher on some of the reasons for his success as a coach. “I always try to figure out ways we can be better; I’m a pretty intense guy, I’m sure you’ve heard from some of the players. I find excitement in trying to figure out how we can be better in certain areas. I’d say my biggest thing that I contribute a lot of my success to is my attention to detail. That helps with my recruiting, my practice and game planning, and it all just adds up eventually.”
Perrin said that Fletcher does a great job leading and building relationships with the guys and this is one of his strongest characteristics as a coach. Fletcher then talks about the same thing.
“My favorite part of coaching is the relationships with the guys,” said Fletcher. “There’s nothing better than two or three years after they’re gone, still hearing from them when they come back.”
Fletcher has a strong relationship with his coach as he just went to the Final Four in Phoenix and stayed with him.
Fletcher continues to strive for success as a coach, and this award will help reinforce his strengths and successes he has had up to this point.