ROANOKE, Va. - Success, breeds success. At the home of the Colonels, the girls basketball program has experienced the most success it ever has -- under the tenure of coach Champ Hubbard.
"As soon as I got here, I said, 'We want to win, we're not trying to lose,'" Hubbard said.
He and his coaching staff set the standards immediately and yielded rich results in the process.
"We were able to make make sure that the kids realized that it's important to play for yourself first, form a unified bond. And then, from that point, the winning started to happen," said Hubbard.
Not only did the wins come, but they came in abundance. The team's biggest run came in a three-year span when the Colonels reached the Group 4A State Finals in 2014 and 2016, and a semifinal appearance in 2015. It was a run that shed a positive light on William Fleming and brought a sense of pride to the program.
"They they act like we're not normal people and we don't do what we're supposed to be doing here at William Fleming. So I've always came up with one saying that's always stuck with us is stereotype of success," Hubbard said.
Speaking of success, during his time, Hubbard has had nine players receive division one scholarships offers -- and more than a dozen going on to play division one or division two. Accomplishments like that speak to the impact Hubbard has had on the school.
"It's everything because, you know, you do this because you want to, of course, win championships," Hubbard said. "You want to win for your school, you want to represent your community. But to see that these kids are growing up through your program and graduating and doing something special for the community, that's just as important as bringing home a trophy for the community."
"It's actually very motivating, like it's really good to be like 'Oh yeah, coach Hubbard's my coach," said current player Kensey Ferguson.
"I play for William Fleming high school and stuff. Just to walk around and be like that is very honorable."
As Hubbard continues his farewell tour this season, he's optimistic that perhaps there could be a storybook ending to his coaching career at Fleming. But regardless of how this season ends, he said he wants to be remembered as such:
"I was a fair guy, passionate guy -- emotional, as you saw -- but committed to William Fleming High School, committed to Roanoke City, committed to 540 and committed to basketball."
But Hubbard doesn't plan to walk away from athletics altogether. Check out what he's focusing his future endeavors on and how it will still benefit student-athletes.
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