CHAPMANVILLE — A new era in Chapmanville basketball began on Monday as Allan Hatcher conducted the first official practice with the Tigers.
Hatcher, the dad of Logan High School coach Mark Hatcher and the former head coach at Perry Central (Ky.) High School, stepped to the hardwood for the first time this week as practices began across the state of West Virginia.
Hatcher led Perry Central to a 23-5 record last season and hopes to bring that kind of success to Chapmanville.
Two years ago, Hatcher led the Commodores to its first ever 14th Regional championship and a trip to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen state tournament at the University of Kentucky’s famed Rupp Arena.
Hatcher said in an earlier interview 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 championship 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, who replaces Harry Kirk at Chapmanville, 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.
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.
The Tigers have never been to the state tournament in the history of the boys’ basketball program.
Hatcher said he would like to change that.
“Our goal is to win the state tournament,” Hatcher said back in August. “I think every coach ought to have that goal.”
Hatcher is scheduled to make his official debut with the Tigers on Dec. 11 as Chapmanville is scheduled to host Herbert Hoover in a Cardinal Conference contest.
Chapmanville then hosts new league foe Mingo Central on Dec. 14. Mingo Central is coached by first-year mentor Brad Napier, a former 11-year Mark Hatcher assistant coach at Logan. Napier replaces Frankie Smith, who had originally was hired to coach the Miners before he left this fall to coach across the Tug at Sheldon Clark (Ky.) High School.
After playing Mingo Central, Chapmanville goes to Class AAA non-league opponent Lincoln County on Dec. 18 before hosting the Poca Dots on Dec. 21 in another Cardinal Conference game.
Chapmanville then hosts its annual Bob Runyon Memorial Tournament over the Christmas holiday break as the Tigers take on Class A county rival Man on Dec. 28 and then play either Pikeview or Mount View on Dec. 29 in either the finals or the consolation game.
The Tigers are slated to play Man three times, also playing on the road against the Hillbillies on Jan. 2 and then hosting Man on Feb. 19 in the regular season finale.
Chapmanville is set to have conference home-and-homes against rival Scott, Herbert Hoover, Mingo Central, Poca, Sissonville, Wayne and Tolsia.
The Tigers play Lincoln County a second time on Jan. 8 at home and also have a home-and-home series against non-league foe Nicholas County.