ELLERY – Legendary coach Curt Fisher found himself in familiar territory as he stepped into Maple Grove’s gym on Friday night to watch his son, Zach, play for Chautauqua Lake as the visitors won, 85-73.
What may not have been familiar to Fisher were the emotions that he felt as he strolled past the hundreds of fans, students and former players on the home side. All were most likely positively affected by the five state championship teams he captained in a remarkable tenure spanning nearly three decades at the school.
“I had to leave,” said Fischer in an exclusive interview during WNY News Now’s Facebook Live of the game. “I was coaching and looking over my back all the time.”
Fischer’s decision was made easier when he said his son became the target of attacks.
“My son was getting beat up from the stands; it was time,” Fischer said.
“There were some things that happened. My kids are more important to me than anything in the world. My family needed this break,” Fisher added.
Fischer expressed frustration with the difficulties he’s experienced recently in connecting with his players.
“Kids aren’t as driven to me anymore; the drive isn’t as hard anymore,” Fisher said. “High school sports is just part of life, (and) that’s how you learn how to live.”
He also inferred that he experienced some entitlement issues during his tenure.
“You have to work for things, and when kids don’t work for things, they don’t deserve those things,” Fischer said.
“The schools that are successful, you’ll notice that those kids are the workers.”
Coach Fischer didn’t directly address the possibility of becoming Chautauqua’s Lake’s next football coach, but he did say he could envision himself back on the sidelines again soon.
As for the changes Fischer’s family has undergone over the past week, the transition was made a little easier on Thursday after Zach Fisher learned that the state’s athletic association approved his in-season transfer.
News broke late Thursday night that Curt’s son was awaiting Section VI approval to begin playing basketball for Chautauqua Lake, whose regular season is in the final stages.
According to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, a student who is enrolled in one school and transfers to another becomes eligible to play sports in the same year when the athlete is medically cleared by the school medical officer.
Practices at the previous school district may be counted with documentation from their administration.
Chautauqua Lake phenom Devin Pope tallied 33 points for the winners.