HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - John Fletcher wasn’t intending to leave Mills Godwin, but got an opportunity he just couldn’t turn down.
Fletcher was announced as the first head baseball coach at Richard Bland this week, as the Statesmen start up their program. He’s led Godwin baseball since 2012, part of a 19 year career in high school dugouts in the area.
“I don’t have the college experience with recruiting and the finances and things like that,” Fletcher said on Wednesday. “I do feel like I have a firm foundation of baseball knowledge, I’ve run a program, so it’s exciting that I feel like I know what I want our program to represent, our philosophy, our foundation. I feel like I know how I want to do it, but I also know at times I’m going to have to take a step back and regroup and take a different approach.”
For the areas of the college game in which he’s inexperienced, Fletcher has a large pool of baseball brains from which to pick. He’s close friends with Ray Hedrick, the head coach at his alma mater, Randolph-Macon. The baseball community in Virginia is a close one, so he also has access to numerous Division I coaches across the state.
Fletcher coached at Manchester and J.R. Tucker before arriving at Mills Godwin. He most recently led the Eagles to the 2019 state championship game. Fletcher also serves as a teacher at the high school and has developed relationships that made his decision a difficult one.
“The Godwin community here is great. It’s fantastic. People whose kids have graduated years ago still come out on Friday nights and tailgate in the parking lot for football games,” the head coach noted. “As a teacher, it’s a phenomenal building to work in. The faculty’s very close, very tight-knit. That was one of the hard parts.”
A long-time educator, Fletcher views his new position as more than just a baseball coach. He values the chance to help his players both on and off the field.
“They’re there to get a two-year degree or they’re there to improve on the field and get better, so it’s still that mentoring coaching position. It’s not just baseball, so I’m excited about that.”
Richard Bland will play its first season in the spring of 2022. The Statemen’s home field will be off-campus at Dinwiddie Sports Complex.
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