Brian Fleming has had a quite a run.
The Mountain Pointe assistant football coach is participating in his ninth Arizona state title game after getting there in basketball as a player and head coach, in baseball and football as an assistant.
“I was counting them up the other day and I couldn’t really believe it,” Fleming said. “A lot people played and coached for a long time and never got to one. I’ve been pretty blessed.”
It started as a player in 1987 when he was the first guard off the bench for Corona del Sol, which advanced to the Class 5A basketball state title game but lost to 62-49 to South Mountain.
As an assistant coach he has won a state title in basketball (1989 and 1994), baseball (1993) and football (1997).
As a head coach he took Tempe to the state title game in 2003 with McClintock, but lost 62-54 to Saguaro.
Now, he has another shot to get a ring with the Pride when they take on Hamilton for the Division I state title on Saturday.
The one common trait all those teams had, according to Fleming, was a closeness that can’t be faked and covered up talent.
“The one thing I’d say is they weren’t the most talented team, but they were all very close,” Fleming said. “They are really tight and they put the team first and themselves second. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of talent to get that far, but there were more talented teams that didn’t that far. Yet the close ones who put the team first tend to get to this point.
“Whether they won or lost (in the finals) they liked to be together and put each other ahead of themselves.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.