After Jay Bulldog Boys Coach Miguel Ortiz accepted a new coaching position at Colcord high school, the Bulldogs began their search for a new boys coach.
Jay Fleming, from Ketchum, Oklahoma was the fit Jay was looking for.
For Fleming, it was a great opportunity to get back into his love of basketball coaching.
Though he has been out of coaching for four years, he refereed for the four years, which “kept me connected to the game.”
Previous to refereeing, he coached at Chelsea for four years.
His coaching experience helped him to better communicate with the coaches, as the coaches gave him more respect because he had been a coach.
When asked what he liked best about “ref-ing,” he liked the connection to the game; what did he like least? “Sometimes the fans.”
That is a familiar response across the state as the system wrestles with getting enough referees, as they leave, tired of the abuse sometimes directed at them from fans.
Fleming graduated from Ketchum high school in 1989, attended NEO, going on to NSU, then completing his Masters at South Nazarene.
Besides coaching the Bulldog varsity and junior varsity, he will teach 3rd hour world history.
He was excited about coming to coach the Bulldogs, because of the favorable reputation the team has, plus he has refereed some Bulldogs games and his experience matched the street chatter about Jay.
He already reviewed tape of previous games, met some returning players and has begun to put together his game plan.
“Individuals will need to be competitive as everyone will begin with a clean slate,” but Fleming always came back to defense.
“Defense will be key, but it will be the biggest challenge.”
“I like that we have a couple of big kids and that most every athlete participates in all three sports” at Jay.
One of the things the Bulldogs will focus on is “getting those easy transition baskets – they help win games.”
“Running the floor is exhilarating, but there are times when you have to pull up to set up.”
Not surprisingly, he has strong thoughts about how players and coaches interact with referees: “It’s not the player’s job to jaw-jack, but to play.”
“Players can’t get distracted by a call they disagree with, they have to shake it off and be ready for the next play.”
As a coach, “Argue what and when you need to argue, not the whole game.”
Along with his thoughts on referees, he says “discipline will be firm, but fair,” expectations are that “each player will be accountable.”
Fleming is excited about the Bulldogs’ outlook for the coming year and again he said “defense will be key, as will be getting those easy transition buckets.”
He has met some of the players and he is anxious to get practice started as soon as it is permissible.