High School Basketball

Former Sehome coach has annual coaches’ award named in his honor

Former Sehome head coach Pat Fitterer greets former player, AJ LaBree, prior to the start of the Mariners’ game against the Eisenhower Cadets in Bellingham in December 2008.
Former Sehome head coach Pat Fitterer greets former player, AJ LaBree, prior to the start of the Mariners’ game against the Eisenhower Cadets in Bellingham in December 2008. The Bellingham Herald

Nine years after inducting former Sehome boys’ basketball coach Pat Fitterer into its Hall of Fame, the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association has honored him again by naming a new annual award in his honor.

The Patrick Fitterer “You Gotta Love It” Positive Coach Contributor Award will be presented to a boys’ basketball coach who has “ had a transformational effect on the lives of their respective players and coaches, and also had a significant positive impact at their school or within their community,” according to a release on the WIBCA website.

Eligible coaches must have at least four years experience as an assistant or head coach and be nominated by an athletic director, coach, player, parent or supporter.

“I had no idea they were doing this,” Fitterer told the Yakima Valley Herald. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is really cool.’ You look around and see so many guys who have played for you, like Doug Burge and all these people, and for those guys to get or share that award would really be special.”

To have a positive coaching award named in his honor makes sense, as Fitterer was known for his positive coaching style.

“To me it wasn’t all about winning as opposed to losing,” Fitterer told the Yakima Valley Herald. “It was about enjoying the game and the people you were around, and enjoying the ride.”

Fitterer coached at Sehome for 13 seasons beginning in 1990, leading the Mariners to a 265-82 record. His most memorable season came in 1995-96, when he directed Sehome to a Class 4A state title and a perfect record.

The state championship run was one of two Fitterer made during his 37 seasons as coach that also included stops at Highland, Kentwood, Yakima Eisenhower and Ellensburg. He led Highland to a Class 1A title in 1988.

Fitterer coached teams that won 18 league championships, 12 district titles and made state 23 times, with 15 top-seven finishes.

Fitterer’s career 728-232 career record gives him the second-most wins in state history behind only Ed Pepple’s 952 wins at Mark Morris, Fife and Mercer Island.

Fitterer three times was selected WIBCA Coach of the Year and inducted into the organizations Hall of Fame in 2007. He also has served as the WIBCA president and still serves on the group’s board of directors.

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