It’s not all the time you can finish up your coaching career where you started and it’s not all the time you can succeed your son.
But that’s the case at Logan High School as Allan Hatcher was named as the new head basketball coach of the Wildcats.
Coach Hatcher, who confirmed his hiring to The Logan Banner on Monday night, comes to Logan High School from in-county Chapmanville Regional, where he had coached the last three years, leading the Tigers in 2014 to the school’s first-ever trip to the state tournament.
The elder Hatcher replaces his son Mark Hatcher, who had been the head coach at Logan the last 15 years, leading the Wildcats to two state championships, eight state tournament appearances and an overall record of 236-130 — the second-winningest coach in LHS basketball history behind Willie Akers.
It’s a unique situation where father will be replacing son.
“Usually it’s your son that replaces you,” Allan Hatcher told The Logan Banner on Monday night. “We’ve got it backwards a little bit. Mark did such a great job and I was so proud of him. I think one of the most unique things about Mark is that his guys cared about him and he cared about them. That was quite evident by the way that they come back and talk highly of him and say, ‘Hey, you had a big impact on my life.’ I think was the key to Mark’s success. He cared about the kids and I surely want to continue to carry that tradition on. I’m excited.”
Mark Hatcher resigned recently as the LHS coach, having received a promotion in the medical field. The rigors of both jobs, he said, would be too much.
Allan Hatcher has coached all over, leading Williamson to a state championship in 1983 and later coaching for many years in Kentucky and having success there. He also led Williamson to an undefeated season in ‘81.
Hatcher, however, comes back to his alma mater Logan High School, where he first began coaching in the 1973-74 season as an assistant under Coach Akers. He graduated from LHS in 1969.
He said he’s proud to be back.
“I graduated from Logan High School and played at Logan for Coach Akers. That was also my first job there as an assistant coach,” Hatcher said. “I coached there for three years, then went to Williamson and became a head coach and stayed there for six years. That’s where I got my start as a head coach. I’ve been a lot of different places and have been to a lot of different schools but this is where I want to close it out.”
The Hatcher for Hatcher coaching move had been widely speculated. That would now seem to open the door for Brad Napier to be Allan Hatcher’s replacement at Chapmanville. Napier recently resigned as the head coach at Mingo Central. Napier is a native of nearby Harts.
Hatcher said he was thankful for his time at Chapmanville. He will be remembered for being the coach that put the Tigers into the boys’ state tournament for the very first time. The Tigers ended up falling 63-34 in the ‘14 state tourney to Bluefield.
“This is where I started. This is a program that I’ve always had a lot of respect for,” Hatcher said of Logan. “I’ve had a great three years at Chapmanville. The fans were great and the administration was great. The support that we got the last three years at Chapmanville was great. I enjoyed every minute of it. We had an unbelievable crowd at the state tournament. I don’t know if anyone had as big a crowd as we had. At 10 o’clock that morning we already had a big crowd on hand for the game.”
Hatcher said it was a tough decision to leave Chapmanville but Logan was probably the only other place that would have pulled him away.
“It was a hard decision for me,” he said. “I have a lot of good memories at Chapmanville Regional High School. The people were good and it was a tough situation. Above all, I had good guys that played for me. I wouldn’t have left that job for any other job other than the Logan job because that’s where I went to school and that’s where I graduated from. I’d like to close it out there.”
Hatcher said his son Mark did a fantastic job with the Wildcats and hopes to keep the ball rolling under his leadership.
“Mark did an incredible job at Logan,” Allan Hatcher said. “He won two state championships. When he took over there 15 years ago the program was down some and he kind of built it back from scratch and ended up having a great career with the two state titles and having the eight state tournament trips. I’d like to finish at Logan and be succesful and lead this team to the state tournament and a state championship.”
The Wildcats have not made it to the state tourney since 2012 — a 63-50 loss to Martinsburg in the Class AAA state quarterfinals.
Logan then suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 2013, going 8-17, and then having a 10-13 mark in 2014.
This year’s Logan team, led by seniors Zac Acord and Austin Treweek-Noe, started out 11-1 but went 2-5 over its last seven to finish 13-6.
Logan last won a state championship in 2010, beating Wheeling Park 63-48 in the state finals and then returned to the state tourney in 2011 with a 64-48 setback at the hands of Morgantown in the state quarterfinals.
“It’s been a few years since Logan has been to the state tournament,” Hatcher said. “But it’s hard to get there. Logan is in Triple-A. When I graduated from Logan High School there were 545 seniors in my graduating class. Now, there’s 730 or 740 students in the entire school. That’s the difference. The coal mines are shutting down and people are not working and people are moving away. But this is where I want to finish it at and I’m really excited about taking this job and hopefully I will do a good job with it.”
Hatcher won’t have long until officially starting his new job at Logan.
The summer camps are just around the corner as well as the three-week June summer practice period.
“On June 14 or 15 we start with our three-week period,” Hatcher said. “That will give me the opportunity to get to know these guys. Mark left me with a pretty good nucleus coming back. There’s a good feeder program with the Buddy League program and our middle school program. All of those people do a good job. That’s one of the outstanding things that Logan has always had. They have always had good feeder programs. Wyatt Scaggs does a great job with these kids at the middle school program. That helps you have a good program at the high school level.”
Hatcher said Logan’s 2015-16 basketball schedule has already been completed.
“He’s left a good schedule,” he said. “It’s a tough schedule but when you have a pretty good team coming back you need to play a good schedule. We want to get the Wildcats rolling again and I think that we’ve got some good players.”
Hatcher said he doesn’t know who his successor will be at CRHS, if it will be Napier or someone else.
“I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. There’s rumors out there,” he said. “That could possibly be happening but I don’t make those decisions. But Brad does a great job. The bottom line is that I am leaving some good guys, good players and good people at Chapmanville. I am real complementary about the people at Chapmanville, the community and the support that I had. That’s what made this decision so tough for me.”
Hatcher was the tri-captain of the LHS team during his senior season.
“I played for Coach Akers and he had such an impact on my life,” Hatcher said. “He had a certain style that you played. He was successful. Coach Akers had a tremendous intangible about him. The kids played so hard for him. They would run through a wall for him. What Mark did is that they played so hard for him because they knew that he really cared about them.”
Hatcher left Logan in 1977 after the Wildcats had won the Class AAA state championship to succeed George Ritchie with the Williamson Wolfpack.
Hatcher has 11 state tournament appearances in Kentucky and West Virginia in his coaching tenure.
Following the resignation of former Chapmanville coach Harry Kirk in 2012, Hatcher was hired to be his replacement. He had come from Perry County Central High School in Hazard, Ky.
“We hope we can get back to the state tournament here at Logan and keep the program on the same level as it was when Mark was here,” Hatcher said. “We hope to continue to do that.”
Hatcher’s hiring has reportedly been placed on the agenda for Thursday’s regularly scheduled school board meeting.