Being a head coach with any sport is time-consuming. Travel, practices, games and preparation.

It would be safe to say that any coach could concur — including former Ellensburg High School basketball coach Pat Fitterer.

Fitterer’s long-time friend Nalin Sood, current head basketball coach of Mountlake Terrace High School, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Association (WIBCA) and executive board member of the National High School Basketball Association (NHSBCA), reminisces on a story Fitterer shared to him.

Fitterer came home from a long week of coaching when his two daughters were young, and when he walked in the house, name tags were on the dining room table.

Befuddled, Fitterer asked what they were about. His wife, Kathy, thought they should “reintroduce” themselves since he hadn’t been in touch with them that often over the past week.

That stuck with Fitterer.

Anytime the job became encompassing, he reminded himself that he was a husband and father first and foremost.

“Coaching can consume you, association work can consume you, and it can make you become someone you don’t want to be,” said Sood. “And you never saw that with Pat Fitterer.

“… He shows a tremendous sense of balance and a tremendous sense of staying who he is. He’s always had his priorities in check.”

Fitterer, who’s been retired from coaching since 2014, has been inducted to the NHSBCA Court of Honor class of 2019. The NHSBCA is an alliance among state basketball coaches associations that represents over 75,000 coaches. The Court of Honor recognizes individuals who have contributed to the growth of the organization and/or had an impact on scholastic basketball nationally.

Fitterer, 65, coached prep basketball for 37 years and was the second-winningest coach in the state of Washington with a 728-232 win-loss record behind Ed Pepple who won 952 games in 49 years.

Fitterer won two state championships, three state coach of the year awards, 23 state appearances, and 18 league championships.

But it isn’t always about the wins or state titles. Fitterer made many contributions outside of the gymnasium, including getting WIBCA part of NHSBCA in 2011. He’s been involved with WIBCA for over 35 years and currently holds an executive board position.

“The wins and losses speak pretty loudly, but what even speaks louder is Pat’s contributions just to make the game better for high school coaches, student-athletes, and families,” Sood said. “Pat, as much as anybody in the history of basketball in the state of Washington, has been an advocate for high school basketball and the benefits of it and the rewards of it.”

LENGTHY CAREER

Fitterer had coaching stints at Marshall High School in Portland (1975-77), Highland High School (1977-88), Kentwood High School (1988-90), Sehome High School (1990-2003), Eisenhower High School (2003-10) and then his alma mater EHS (2010-14).

He won state titles with Highland in ’88 and Sehome in ’96.

“The goal was basically to do what I love, which was coaching basketball and making the basketball game better,” Fitterer said.

Fitterer also spent seven years with USA basketball. He was the head coach of the USA Junior Select Team in the annual Nike Hoop Summit in 2007. The USA team defeated the World Select Team 100-80.

Fitterer had coveted names on that squad such as Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, and Patrick Patterson.

“I still think his 1995 Sehome team would have beat that team,” Sood said.

Fitterer could have been inducted into the NHSBCA Court of Honor last year in North Carolina, but he knew there was a potential it could be held in Seattle in 2019. He decided to hold off for a year, and it proved to be well worth it.

He along with Don Showalter (Iowa) and Chris Nimmo (Missouri) are being inducted today at 11:45 a.m. at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle.

His two daughters, Karly Floyd and Mindy Schultz, along with the five grandkids will be in attendance.

“It worked out perfect because now all the girls and grandkids can be there,” Fitterer said.

Fitterer hasn’t put away the clipboard just yet. In the last couple of years, he has been coaching his grandkids in multiple different sports including second-grade basketball.

“That doesn’t count on the record,” Fitterer laughed.

He’s teaching half-day Kindergarten through third grade P.E. at Highland Elementary. The rest of the day is spent with his family.

Priorities.

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.