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Fletchall gets milestone win in triumph over Dodge City

Jayhawk West

POSTED February 9, 2012 11:03 p.m.

There it was, a milestone victory, lost in the rubble of an 83-81 Barton Community College cliffhanger over Dodge City, where the Conquistadors misfired just before the buzzer and had a putback go in that wouldn’t count.
“Obviously, we had some luck Wednesday night with the lid on the basket,” Barton men’s head basketball coach Craig Fletchall said. “I’ve been on both sides of the coin.”
While the 13th-ranked Cougars (21-3, 7-3) stayed near the top of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Western Division standings on Wednesday night, it was Fletchall’s 400th career victory as a head coach at the high school and junior college levels combined.
Fletchall, in the midst of his seventh season at Barton, improved his overall record to 254-119 at the junior college level, including 152-72 with the Cougars, where he entered this season as the second-winningest coach in school history, trailing only Dan McGovern.
Coupled with his high school record of 146-99 in 11 seasons, win No. 400 went unnoticed by virtually everyone inside Kirkman Activity Center.
“I’m very humble about it, and I’m glad it came with this team because I really like this group of kids,” Fletchall said. “That’s always nice because I think sometimes when you reach certain numbers, you think of the teams that did it for you and I think a lot of this group.
“That’s going to make them stand out even more so in the future.”
Fletchall, a Hutchinson native, who attended Wichita State University and Fort Hays State, had his first head coaching job at Hutchinson Trinity, where he won a Class 2A state championship in 1987, his first season, and accumulated a 40-9 record in two seasons.
Fletchall then coached at Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel for three seasons before heading to Shawnee Mission East, a  Johnson County-area school for six campaigns, compiling an 86-47 record at East, including posting the school record for wins (19) during his final season in 1996.
Fletchall then made his climb through the Jayhawk Conference ranks as an assistant at Cowley in Arkansas City for three seasons before moving on to Neosho County in Chanute to become head coach for five seasons. He posted a 102-57 record with the Panthers, capped by guiding them to the NJCAA Region VI finals for the first time in school history.
“I am probably as proud of the high school wins as the college wins because I know at the high school level, you have to play with the cards you are dealt,” Fletchall said. “You can’t recruit, and there’s a lot of obstacles.
“So I don’t minimize those, but I definitely wouldn’t trade it for where I’m at now.”

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