2010-05-09 / Sports

Fisher replaces Newell as East basketall coach

LISA PAINE
810-452-2626 • LPAINE@MIHOMEPAPER.COM

New Lapeer East basketball coach Aaron Fisher. Photo provided New Lapeer East basketball coach Aaron Fisher. Photo provided LAPEER — A family legacy of coaching in Lapeer has come full circle as Lapeer native Aaron Fisher was announced as the new Lapeer East boys’ varsity basketball coach April 30.

Fisher, the son of Arden Fisher, who coached football and basketball at East in the late 80s and early 90s, takes over for Mark Newell, who stepped down from the position after the end of the winter season.

"I’m from Lapeer and my dad, Arden Fisher, coached at East as the first varsity coach in 1990, because I played for coach Dave Gleason as a sophomore in 1989," Fisher said. "My dad coached as an assistant under Dave Gleason before taking the head coaching job. Dad coached 1990- 1994, then Jerry Nakoneczny took over, then Mark Newell. My dad also was the head football coach at East from 1981- 1992."

Coaching is secondary for Fisher, a longtime Imlay City dentist for 10 years now, but he has the commitment and the passion to coach kids, as he has also coached AAU boys and girls basketball for the past six years or so, he says.

" I'm excited," said Fisher. "I grew up around East basketball and between my dad and coach Dave Gleason I know a lot about the East program. I’d just like to get as many kids involved, and take what Mark Newell did and build on that. He's had good success in the past, and I know the team struggled last year, but I’ll build on what he started."

"I’m certain (Aaron) will do excellent job," said Gleason upon learning of the appointment. "His father was an excellent coach at East so there’s a good background at the job. Arden was my JV coach and Nakoneczny coached the freshmen team. I always said you build from the bottom to build the top. We were always fortunate because we had those kind of people at East and we had key people at the junior high level, so there was a lot of good teaching and you could see that at the upper levels and you could see that with those kids. Aaron knows all about what it takes to keep that level."

Gleason added that in his first year the team went 1-20, but turned the program around the following year to pick up a district title. The year his son played--too far back to recall--Gleason joked, the squad went 24-1.

"When you stick with what works over the years you know you have a good thing," Gleason said. "We stuck with the same program and everyone at every level in the program stuck to those core basics so we didn’t have to reteach the kids year in and year out. We were able to build on their skills each year and we kept strict training rules. You violate that and you pay. We had a lot of good players grow up in the area and a lot of good players move into the area. Aaron was one of those, who played his sophomore year for me."

He added, "I’m one of those coaches who doesn’t carry numbers and records around. It’s more about the kids and what they are doing and if they are having fun doing it."

That’s something Fisher definitely plans to continue following as a core value. And, because he’s familiar with the history of the past teams and the Metro rivals, Fisher says he expects that Fenton will be tough again, and Holly should be decent. But, that with the league still fairly young, "West will always be there and we always want to be in the hunt for a title along with them."

The East varsity bench should be deep again next season, as Fisher said the young team should return seven or eight to the varsity. Add to that the good prospects from the successful JV team and he’ll have more than enough kids for a solid starting lineup.

"My hope is that we can mesh those kids together and have some fun," Fisher added.

Relying on good solid resources like his dad and his newly-tagged freshmen boys’ coach, Jerry Nakoneczny, and Fisher definitely will have a step up on the competition.

"With my dad, Dave and Jerry, I’ll have plenty of mentors to help me out along the way."

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