CHAPMANVILLE — The hiring of Allan Hatcher as the new Chapmanville Regional High School boys’ basketball coach came as no surprise to anyone.
The Logan County Board of Education made Hatcher’s hiring official on Thursday night as the former Williamson High School coach was named to lead the Tigers.
Hatcher, the father of Logan High School coach Mark Hatcher, comes to Chapmanville from Perry Central High School in Hazard, Ky. Under Hatcher last season, Perry Central was 23-5 but was beaten in the post-season. Two years ago, Hatcher led Perry Central to its first-ever 14th Region championship and trip to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
After resigning from Perry Central in August, Hatcher took a teaching job at CRHS and was at school the first day. His hiring as the new Tigers’ basketball coach seemed like a formality. Now, it’s official.
Hatcher said he’s thrilled to be Chapmanville’s new coach and is happy to be coaching again in the Mountain State.
“I’m real excited about being back,” Hatcher said. “Any time that you have the opportunity to come back to an area that’s close to your family it is good. I’ve been chasing basketball all over this country and have coached in difference places such as Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Now I’m back home in the area that I grew up in. Family is very important to me. My mother is here and I’m trying to help her. It’s been a big move for me because I retired from coaching and teaching in Kentucky and when the Chapmanville job came open I thought, ‘What a good situation that it is that I can still coach and be around my mom and my family.’”
Hatcher, a veteran coach who has more than 700 wins under his belt, returns to West Virginia where he began his coaching career. He led Williamson to the Class AA state title in 1983 as the Wolfpack beat Northfork, 66-60, in the finals.
Hatcher took three schools to the Kentucky’s coveted Sweet Sixteen — Graves County six times, Marshall County four times and Perry Central once.
Hatcher arrived at Perry Central in 2007, following a stint in Graves County. In the past, he also has had coaching positions at Marshall County, Morehead State University and at Western Kentucky University on his resume.
Hatcher began his career as an assistant coach under Willie Akers at his alma-mater Logan High School from 1974-78. Logan won back-to-back Class AAA state titles in 1977 and 1978 while on Akers’ staff. He graduated from LHS in 1969.
His son Mark has had a successful run at Logan and is already regarded as one of the best coaches in the state.
The younger Hatcher has been the head coach of the Wildcats since 2000 and has led Logan to a Class AA state title in 2005, a 3A crown in 2010 and numerous other state tournament appearances, sectional championships and regional crowns.
“My mother was a teacher at Chapmanville High School a long time ago and she is very familiar with a lot of the people in the community of Chapmanville,” he said. “And to be able to coach close to my son and to be close is good. I’m very proud of Mark. I think that he’s done a great job at Logan High School. I think the big key with Mark is that he really cares about the players who have played for him. That’s a big thing. I, as a basketball coach, can see this in Mark. The players like him and they play extremely hard for him.”
Allan Hatcher said he wants to have that same kind of player-coach relationship at Chapmanville.
“I want our kids to become better basketball players but more importantly, I want them to be better people,” he said. “That’s when you start to have a basketball program — when the kids come back to you and say, ‘Coach, I appreciate all of the things that you did when I was in school when I played for you.’ That’s the reward of a high school basketball coach.”
Allan Hatcher replaces Harry Kirk as Chapmanville’s basketball coach. Back in July, Kirk resigned as the Tigers’ coach after three seasons and a 45-26 mark, including a Cardinal Conference co-championship in 2010.
Chapmanville, led by 6-foot-4 senior forward/center Mackenzie Martin, finished 16-8 last season and were eliminated 58-43 by Tolsia in the sectional tournament. The Tigers finished 10-4 in the Cardinal Conference.
Two old bugaboos have plagued the Chapmanville basketball program over the decades.
One, the Tigers have never reached the state tournament in boys’ basketball.
And two, the Tigers haven’t beaten rival Logan since 1957 and are currently riding a 22-game losing skid to the Wildcats since 2002 when the series resumed. The two teams did not meet last season and are not expected to play each other this year.
Coach Hatcher said he has one main goal above all else.
Not only make it to the state tournament but to win it.
“Our goal is to win the state tournament,” Hatcher said. “I think every coach ought to have that goal.”
Hatcher said he wants to strengthen Chapmanville’s two feeder programs at Chapmanville and Harts middle schools.
“I want to be involved from the top to the bottom of the program,” he said. “I want to be involved in the Buddy League program, the middle school programs and of course, the high school program. I want the Buddy League coaches and the middle school coaches to run a lot of the things that we will run at the high school. It’s a program and you want to be involved in your feeders. One of the things that we have that’s an advantage that the other two schools in the county Logan and Man do not have is two middle schools that feed into our program. They only have one each. We want to take advantage of that. We have a lot of tradition in basketball in the community of Harts and the community of Chapmanville.”
Hatcher said he knows of Chapmanville’s sports-minded community. Chapmanville’s varsity programs have had much success across the board in all sports, winning five state titles in softball and three in baseball. Chapmanville’s football program has made it to the playoffs a record six straight times.
“I excited about it. Chapmanville has a great sports community,” he said. “They have a great supporting group. The community is very supportive of athletics. We’re doing everything that we can to get them excited.”
As far as playing Logan in the 2012-13 season, Hatcher said it’s not in the cards.
The schedule has already been finished, so a possible father vs. son, Hatcher vs. Hatcher game between the Tigers and the Wildcats would not happen at least until the 2013-14 roundball campaign.
Being a member of the Cardinal Conference, Chapmanville has little lee-way in its basketball scheduling as 14 of its 22 games had already been booked anyway.
“The schedule for this season has already been completed for this year,” Allan Hatcher said. “They (Logan) won’t be on the schedule this year. I’m sure that there will be talk about this in the future. But as of right now, we won’t be playing each other. That’s something that will have to be worked out. It is really really hard to coach against your family members. It would be hard for both parties.”
As far as competing for a state tournament berth goes, the Tigers could have a more clear pathway this year than ever.
Why you ask?
Tug Valley is no longer in Chapmanville’s section, that’s why.
After winning the Class AA state championship last season, the Panthers have dropped down in classification to Single-A this year.
Tug Valley has been Chapmanville’s arch nemesis over the years as the Panthers denied Chapmanville a trip to the state tournament four straight years from 2000-03 under former Tigers’ coaches Danny Godby and Dave Elkins as the Panthers knocked off Chapmanville in the Class AA regional title game each time.
Chapmanville then fell one game short of the state tourney again in 2005 with a 49-38 loss to Mark Hatcher’s Logan Wildcats in the Class AA regional final during the short period when LHS was a Double-A school.
The next season in 2006, the Tigers were beaten again in the regional final by Logan, 88-61.
In 2010 under Kirk, Chapmanville fell short of the state tourney once again with a loss to Sissonville in the regional co-final.
The last two seasons, the Tigers were ousted by Tug Valley and Tolsia in the sectional tourney.
Tug Valley might be gone, but Chapmanville will still be challenged in its Class AA sectional this season by Scott, Tolsia and emerging power Mingo Central, led by first-year head coach Frankie Smith, who led Tug Valley to the 1999 Class AA state championship and was most recently a head coach at Division II Saginaw Valley State (Mich.).
Hatcher is already putting together his coaching staff. He said two of his assistant coaches have already been named.
The first is Jody Harless, a former Chapmanville assistant coach.
The second assistant is Joe Hatcher, Allan Hatcher’s nephew and former Logan basketball player in the 2000s.
“They were named at the Board meeting. They are Jody Harless and Joe Hatcher,” Hatcher said. “Joe played point guard at Logan when they won the state championship and he’s my brother’s son.”
Hatcher said he’s still looking for a third assistant coach and hopes to have one named soon.