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Lakota West Girls Basketball Coach, Andy Fishman, Announces Retirement

Fishman will retire as the only girls basketball coach the school has ever had.
Lakota West Girls Basketball Coach, Andy Fishman, Announces Retirement

On March 12, 2024, longtime Lakota West Girls Basketball coach, Andy Fishman, went about the school day with the usual spirit he has always shown. As he checked in on students in his class, it seemed barely noticeable that he had announced his retirement the day before. 

Fishman, a Lakota district teacher for 37 years and varsity girls basketball coach for 27 years, hadn’t originally planned to retire after the season, but will be relinquishing his role at the helm of the program after all. 

“I didn’t want any focus on me during the season,” Fishman remarked when asked about the change in mindset. “It’s been a feeling, but you kind of push that down during the year… You know when you know.”

The New York native explained that, while he loved the program, he felt the fairest thing to do was step away because the players deserved their coach’s full attention. With his hopes of spending more time with his family, including both of his daughters who are expecting children, he felt that it wouldn’t be possible to contribute the time and energy needed.

“I only know how to do things one way… As the head coach of Lakota West Basketball, you’re on 24/7,” Fishman explained. 

The now-60-year-old’s coaching career started when he was a JV coach for the Lakota Thunderbirds before the district split into two high schools in 1997. He was slated to become a head coach at a different program, but when Stu Eversole, the current commissioner of the GMC, approached him about leading the new program in West Chester, Fishman decided to stick with the district that he had grown strong ties with.

“Lakota has embraced me and my family… I never wanted to be elsewhere,” he said. In fact, one of the reasons that Fishman stayed with the school for so long was because he enjoyed “watching [the players] grow… It’s home.”

When asked about some of his favorite memories over the years, Fishman reflected on some of the charity work he put together with the team and all of the connections he built through it. He also talked about how he has been invited to many weddings of former players and stays in contact with many of them even after they have graduated.

But, of course, he couldn’t leave out the memory of going to state championships, both in 2008 and 2015. In both of his championship game appearances, Coach Fishman was able to coach one of his daughters. While he only won the state title in 2015, he still looks back fondly on both seasons and is incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

“Who gets to do that?” the proud, reminiscent coach commented. “95% of the coaches I’ve met haven’t coached in a championship game, let alone coached their own kids in a championship game.”

Coach Fishman will undoubtedly go down in Lakota West history as one of the best coaches to lead a team for the school. According to Lakota Historian, Bob Ashby, “Fishman is the winningest coach in Lakota basketball history although Mike Mueller has more total wins including his state of Illinois wins.”

In addition to his 497 wins and 2015 state title, he also leaves a legacy of great leadership.

“Lakota West Girls Basketball has been a way of life for me… The girls and parents in our program are amazing. It’s a lifetime reward.”

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About the Writer
Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
Nick Johnson is a third-year journalism student in his senior year. Nick is very involved around the school, as a peer counseling lead team member and doing PA announcing for the baseball team in the spring. He is also a leader of the Lakota West Student Broadcasting Club. Nick enjoys writing about sports, specifically football, as he is a huge NFL fan. Specifically, he is a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions. He also does writing for other sports, and you can read all of his articles and more here on the West Press.

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