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March 29, 2023

C.J. Fleming named Badin High boys head basketball coach

It’s a new era for Badin High School basketball as Christopher James “C.J.” Fleming has been named the boys head basketball coach at the co-ed Catholic school in Hamilton.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be at a program like Badin,” said Fleming, who will turn 25-years-old in June. “As someone who comes from a family that has been involved in Catholic school athletics and coaching, coming to a place like Badin, with its academic reputation and athletic success, I’m really happy to be here.”

Fleming is the son of former longtime LaSalle High School boys head coach Dan Fleming; and his brother, Ryan, is the boys head coach at Summit Country Day.

“We are really excited to have C.J. lead our boys’ basketball program,” Badin Athletic Director Geoff Melzer ‘87 said. “He has the maturity and presence about him that screams ‘winner.’ He is a high basketball IQ guy who will help lead our young men on and off the court.”

Fleming steps in for Pat Kreke ‘75, a member of the Badin Athletic Hall of Fame who retired after four years on the BHS staff, the last two as the head coach.

A current Social Studies teacher at Delhi Middle School in the Oak Hills district in Greater Cincinnati, Fleming will teach Social Studies at Badin in 2023-24, according to BHS Principal Patrick Keating ’07. Fleming was set to meet with the Badin basketball team Wednesday afternoon in St. Basil’s Chapel at Badin.

Fleming is the first non-Badin grad to lead the Badin program since Gerry Weisgerber was appointed for the 1981-82 season. Weisgerber directed the Rams for 23 seasons over two stints, including the undefeated 28-0 1988 Division III state champions and two trips to the Division II Final Four in 1997 and 1998. Other Badin head coaches in the past four decades include Fred Hesse ‘74, Nick Argentati ’96, Matt Thompson ’88 and Kreke ’75.

“We’ll get to know the guys, put a plan together and see what we can do in June,” Fleming said. “I’m looking forward to building relationships with the players.”

“We had some excellent candidates and C.J. really made a positive impact on the committee,” Badin President Brian Pendergest ’90 said. “His knowledge, background and enthusiasm convinced them that he was the right guy to lead the program.”

Fleming is a 2017 LaSalle grad who then went on to earn undergraduate and master’s degrees at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., where he was a standout guard for the basketball Knights. Fleming was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year at Bellarmine, and was a three-year team captain. He has an undergraduate degree in Secondary Social Studies education and a master’s degree in Trauma Informed Care.

Fleming served as an assistant coach and head freshman coach for the Oak Hills boys’ basketball program under veteran head coach Mike Price this past season. He and his wife, Lexy, are expecting their first child in May.

“First and foremost, our guys are going to play hard,” Fleming said of his basketball philosophy. “It all starts with defense – dive on the floor, take charges and go get the 50-50 balls. All five guys on the court need to be able to guard.

“We’ll run a motion offense – lots of passing and cutting, less dribbling,” he added. “We want to have unselfish players who are willing to give up a good shot in order to get a great shot.”

“Badin athletic expectations are high and we’re looking forward to C.J. bringing his energy to the Badin boys’ basketball program,” Melzer said. “We’re excited to have him, and he’s excited to accept the challenge.”

Badin has had three straight losing seasons since the start of the pandemic, including a 6-18 mark in 2022-23 after an 0-8 start. But nine players who saw significant minutes down the stretch are returning, and Badin’s tough season included seven losses by five points or less and two more in overtime.

The Rams have finished as the district runner-up three times – most recently in 2014 -- since their last district championship, a trip to the Division II regional finals in 2001-02.

Interestingly, Weisgerber, the last non-Badin grad to direct the program, coached Badin’s first-ever boys basketball district title in his initial season at the helm in 1981-82.

Kreke finished 13-33 in his two seasons as head coach, with one Greater Catholic League Coed Division win each year. He won 380 games in 30 years as the head boys’ basketball coach at Fenwick High, and guided Fenwick to the 1981 Class A boys’ baseball championship. He was the catcher on Badin’s first-ever team to reach a state title game, the 1975 baseball Rams. He then played baseball at Xavier University and was a 2005 inductee into Badin’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, Dallen@BadinHS.org or (513) 869-4490

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Picture of C.J. Fleming, named Badin High boys head basketball coach