Rob Fleming, the varsity girls’ basketball coach at Olivet High School for the past nine seasons, has resigned his position effective immediately.
Rumors have been circulating for quite a while as to whether this year would be Fleming’s last, and those rumors were confirmed today – less than 24 hours after his program celebrated its successful 2016-17 season at the annual OHS Girls’ Basketball Banquet Thursday evening.
“I can’t pinpoint as to why this is the right time,” Fleming said. “What I do know is that I was once told by a former coach that you will know when it is time. I just feel that the time is now…it’s time for someone else to be the head of the program.”
Fleming took over the already-successful OHS girls’ program in 2008 and did not miss a beat. He directed the Lady Eagles to eight conference championships in nine seasons – six straight in the Kalamazoo Valley Association and two out of three in the recently-formed Greater Lansing Activities Conference. His overall record stands at 175-32.
Prior to coaching girls, Fleming headed the OHS boys’ program from 1989-2000. He was nearly as successful, posting a 190-65 record over 11 seasons. His 365 career victories and two trips to the Final Four (boys in 1995 and girls in 2009) make him an obvious choice for the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame in the near future.
When asked what he was going to miss most about coaching, however, the local legend said nothing about winning games.
“I’m going to miss the daily interactions that develop between coach and player,” he said. “It is more than what people see on a game night or during a season. It is about getting to know and appreciate who (the players) are off the court.
“I’ve always said that I have been lucky to coach the student-athlete here at OHS,” he added. “The student-athlete here has always amazed me for their commitment to not only athletics, but to their family, academics, teammates and friends. I will truly miss building and maintaining relationships with the great young people here.”
Long-time friend, colleague and assistant coach Russ Stolberg helped put Fleming’s career – which also included some time at various sub-varsity levels – into perspective.
“He has spoiled this town for 35 years and will be greatly missed,” said Stolberg, who is also stepping down from his position.
The OHS Athletic Department will begin a search for Fleming’s replacement next week, with hopes of filling the position sometime in April.