Olivetathletics.com is counting down the Top 10 Olivet High School sports stories for 2016-17. Here is No. 5…
In what turned out to be Olivet High School girls’ basketball coach Rob Fleming’s final campaign, the Lady Eagles sent him out in style by capturing an outright Greater Lansing Activities Conference championship during the 2016-17 season.
Olivet sealed the deal on February 21 when it dominated Maple Valley, 67-22, in front of a Senior Night crowd at OHS. The victory left the Eagles at 11-1 in the GLAC, with their only blemish coming in early January at Stockbridge.
“The league title was well-deserved,” Fleming said. “It was a goal that we talked about during our summer workouts. The girls never lost sight of that goal. We approached each league opponent with respect and the effort that it would take to win the league championship. I personally feel really good for the girls. I know the time and effort they put into winning the league.”
Olivet’s 12-player roster included seven seniors – Lexi Devlin, Teona Feldpausch, Morgan Greenman, Logan Kyre, Kelsie Letts, Noelle Rohde and Taylor Williams. Both Feldpausch (Spring Arbor University) and Kyre (Goshen College) received scholarships to play basketball at the next level.
“That is a tremendous group of young ladies,” said Fleming, commenting on his seniors. “They led by example. I admire the way they carried themselves both on the court and off the court. I’m proud to say that I was their coach.”
Other members of the championship roster were juniors Hannah Frei, Marisa Gordon and Logan McLane, and sophomores Ally Platzer and Gracen Zaremba.
Olivet eventually finished the season with a 20-3 overall record, reaching the district final before a heart-breaking loss to Eaton Rapids. It was Coach Fleming’s final game as the Eagles’ head coach.
“I can’t pinpoint as to why this is the right time,” Fleming said, shortly after resigning in March. “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.
Administration did not take very long – or look very far – when naming former OHS coach Anna O’Dell as Fleming’s replacement in April. O’Dell graduated from OHS in 1998 and has been an English teacher with the district since 2003. In addition to posting a 79-19 record in four seasons as Olivet’s varsity girls’ basketball coach, she assisted the varsity boys’ basketball team for three seasons.