Mark Hatcher left his father Allan a challenging and difficult schedule for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
The younger Hatcher stepped down a couple of months ago after 15 years and two state championships with the Logan High School boys’ basketball team.
The schedule was already complete upon Allan Hatcher’s arrival. The elder Hatcher coached three years at Chapmanville Regional High School before being hired at his alma mater Logan, where he was a former player and assistant coach.
“It’s a very difficult and challenging schedule,” said Allan Hatcher at this week’s Runnin’ Wildcat Basketball Camp at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena.
Logan is scheduled to open the 2015-16 season on Dec. 11 against Perry Central (Ky.) in the Clay County (Ky.) tournament.
Hatcher coached at Perry Central, located in Hazard, Ky., prior to coming to Chapmanville three years ago. He led Perry Central to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen state tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
“Perry Central is one of the places I coached over in Kentucky,” Hatcher said. “That game is a special kind of event. That is the Bobby Keith Classic. There’s about five games that day.”
New to Logan’s schedule is a home-and-home series with Princeton and a home game on Jan. 30 against prep school Mountain Mission (Va.).
“Mountain Mission is a prep school and they have players who go 6-10, 6-8 and 6-7,” Hatcher said.
Logan has one more new opponent on Jan. 21 as Johnson Central (Ky.) comes to Willie Akers Arena. The Wildcats played the Golden Eagles more than 10 years ago in their home tournament.
Johnson Central, located in Paintsville, Ky., is a 15th Regional powerhouse.
Last year, the Golden Eagles beat Lawrence County (Ky.), 67-60 in the 15th Region Championship Game at Pikeville’s East Kentucky Expo Center, but lost 82-69 to Louisville Ballard in the state tournament at Rupp Arena.
“Johnson Central has been to the state tournament four years in a row,” Hatcher said.
Logan also has a home-and-home series with Beckley Woodrow Wilson. Last year, the Wildcats renewed the rivalry with the Flying Eagles and won both meetings, 60-56 on the road and 56-53 late in the season at home in a makeup game.
The Cats went 13-6 last year and lost 53-50 to Spring Valley in the Class AAA sectional tournament.
Logan also is set to take part again in the Little General Classic at the Charleston Civic Center where the Cats will take on Shady Spring.
In addition, Logan has road games at Wheeling Park and Class AAA defending state champion and sectional rival Huntington.
Home-and-homes with 2A teams Westside and Wyoming East are also on the slate.
“We’ve loaded up this schedule but we’re excited about it,” Hatcher said.
New to Logan’s team is Ben Eke, a 6-foot-8 Nigerian National and a transfer from Chapmanville.
Eke will form Logan’s “Nigerian Connection” along with 6-4 rising senior forward Augustine Chukwu-Noe, who played for the Wildcats last season in the Second Semester as well after being declared eligible to play.
Chukwu-Noe averaged 6.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest last year.
Eke and Chukwu-Noe would give Logan a very tough one-two punch inside the paint.
The Wildcats, however, will have some rebuilding to do during the 2015-16 season.
Top scorers Zac Acord (16.9 ppg.) and Australian import Austin Treweek-Noe (14.6 ppg.) have both graduated.
Logan does return some players, however, including 6-1 rising junior guard Kyle Porter (8.0 ppg.). 6-4 junior guard/forward Braxton Goff (5.6 ppg.), 6-4 senior forward Khalil Murphy (5.6 ppg.) and 5-11 senior guard Kareem Clansy (5.4 ppg.), who injured his wrist late in the season last year.
Jamal Minter, Alex Toler, Will Akers, 6-4 Samual Justice and a host of others are also back for the Wildcats this season.
Hatcher has pretty much already assembled his coaching staff for this season. Zach Green, Brandon Browning and Fuji Williams are holdovers from Mark Hatcher’s staff.
“All of those guys are helping me right now,” Hatcher said. “These guys have done a great job this summer. Zach, Brandon and Fuji have done just about everything that was asked of them and helped us this summer at our camp. I’m very happy with them.”
Hatcher was the tri-captain of the LHS team during his senior season in the 1973-74 roundball campaign.
“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 has 11 state tournament appearances in Kentucky and West Virginia in his coaching tenure. He won a state championship at Williamson in 1983.
Following the resignation of former Chapmanville coach Harry Kirk in 2012, Hatcher was hired to be his replacement. He had come from Perry Central.
“It feels good to be back,” Hatcher said. “I was an assistant coach here for Coach Akers for three years and loved every minute of it. As a matter of fact, I saw him yesterday (Tuesday) and I talked to him. We’re going to Beckley next week. Tex Williams is having a reunion kind of thing. This is where I started and this is where I played.”
Hatcher said it’s great to be back in the historic Logan field house, regarded as one of the best high school gymnasiums in the state.
“Have you seen our dressing room? That’s an incredible dressing room for a high school,” he said. “To walk in here is great. We think we have the best high school facility in the state of West Virginia. We’ve got the best dressing room and the best arena but now we’ve got to fill it up. Now, we’ve got to be able to play some exciting basketball. This is going to be and up and down team this year. We’ve got some players that can get up and down the court and can play.”
Hatcher said he was grateful for his time at Chapmanville Regional.
“I really had a positive experience at Chapmanville,” he said. “The people were great and the administration was great. The community was great to me. The only reason I would have left was to come back home to where I played and coached. That’s the reason I am here.”
2015-16 Logan High School
Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 11: vs. Perry Central (Ky.) at Clay County, Ky. tourney
Dec. 15: at Westside
Dec. 18: Cabell Midland
Dec. 28-29: at Beckley Woodrow Wilson tourney
Jan. 5: at Huntington
Jan. 8: Princeton
Jan. 9: Point Pleasant
Jan. 12: at Winfield
Jan. 15: at Wheeling Park
Jan. 16: at Brooke
Jan. 21: Johnson Central (Ky.)
Jan. 23: Westside
Jan. 29: Wyoming East
Jan. 30: Mountain Mission (Va.)
Feb. 6: at Point Pleasant
Feb. 8: vs. Shady Spring, Little General Shootout at Charleston Civic Center
Feb. 12: at Princeton
Feb. 18: Winfield
Feb. 20: at Wyoming East
Feb. 23: Parkersburg
Feb. 27: Beckley Woodrow Wilson
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).