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Fisher named newest Hall of Famer
Photo provided The Fisher family was out in full force at last week's WC Sports Hall of Fame banquet to celebrate the enshirement of Franklin Fisher. Pictured are, from left, Bo Myers, Franklin, Mary Kate Myers (with son Foster), Ann Layne (holding Margaret Clair Myers), Blair Fisher, Alex Famey and Leanne Fisher.

How does a rough and rugged football player and coach turn into one of the best leaders of Lady Pioneers in school history? The answer was simple for Franklin Fisher – have two daughters.

During his speech last week at the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame banquet, where Fisher was one of seven new inductees, the long-time volleyball coach vividly recalled the moment his priorities flipped for good.

“I was running drills on a Friday night before a game and I had my daughter, Mary Kate, with me. We didn’t have a babysitter that day so she was with me as the guys were doing a warm-up drill and one of my players comes up and says, ‘coach, your daughter is crying.’” I went over to check on her immediately,” recalled Fisher. “I asked her why she was crying and she said, ‘They’re hurting each other.’ I assured her they were just warming up and I took her to my wife a little later.

“When I was buckling her up in the third row and saw her and Blair both looking at me, I just said, ‘What am I doing?’ I was coaching a male sport and have two daughters. I knew there were sports for them and I wanted them to have opportunities. I was in the wrong place and at that moment was when I knew I’d give up football. I took over volleyball the next year and started with softball the year after that.”

From there, a coaching star was born. Fisher went on to lead the volleyball team for 18 years, ultimately racking up 343 wins with the Lady Pioneers. While also coaching at Warren County, Fisher was the leader of the football program for four years (1991-94), presided over the softball program and also served as an assistant in softball, basketball and many more sports.

“I think I’ve coached nearly every sport in Warren County except maybe soccer,” joked Fisher. “You never realize how much pride you have in a place until you look back. We always took pride when playing football, then coming back to coach, I wanted to represent the school. It’s just an innate thing – just being a part of the tradition and loyalty. But looking back, it’s quite an honor to be able to coach those different sports.”

His longevity as a coach, willingness to help in any way and great track record of success made him a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame board. The only person who seemed to be shocked about his inclusion in the 2022 class was Fisher himself.

“I was on my way to a meeting and I got a text from PK (Phillip King) that said, ‘Congrats. Well deserved.’ I text back, ‘What?’ – I hadn’t seen the news yet. (When I found out), I was in total disbelief. It was quite a surprise,” said Fisher about finding out he was a Hall of Famer.

Fisher was profuse in his praise of others at the banquet, thanking all his many assistant coaches, former coaches, his players, the parents and the supporters of his program and his family.

“I learned so much so much from every coach I ever played for, every coach I worked with, every played I worked with and their parents. I am forever indebted to all of them and to my wife Leanne for allowing me to follow this path,” said Fisher.

Fisher hasn’t stopped promoting volleyball – a sport he will forever be synonymous with in Warren County – to this day. He referees regularly, helps at camps and still plays well, as evidenced by his state championship at the State Olympics 

“The one thing I always tried to do was make sure volleyball survived. I’ve worked with leagues to make sure they continue and I still play and try to promote the game – not myself – in hopes it will only reinforce the efforts of volleyball. It’s a great game and you can play it as long as you want,” said Fisher about his enduring sports legacy.

The newest honor led to plenty of conversations and reflection on his coaching career. Plenty have asked about his favorite memories, including any win that may have stood out of the hundreds he collected over three decades. 

One did – and it came in his final season as coach. Warren County won an epic match against Cookeville to claim a district championship in 2012, roaring back in the final three sets to stun the Lady Cavaliers at Charlie Dalton Gym. Everything about that night is still ingrained in Fisher’s mind.

“I just remember how sensational it was. I don’t think anybody had beaten Cookeville until those girls did that night. And I tell people all the time, I didn’t play – I just sat there and watched. It was a lot of fun,” said Fisher.

It was only fitting that magical night ended with Fisher in a bear hug with his daughter Blair. Once a baby whose look made him change his entire coaching path, the senior was crying in joy in her father’s arms after a historic win.

Maybe it would’ve never happened if Mary Kate didn’t cry at a football game 17 years before.