After a long coaching search process, the Dothan City Schools hired from within for the first head boys basketball coach of the new Dothan Wolves Thursday afternoon.
Janasky Fleming, a Dothan native and Dothan High graduate who has been part of the Dothan city school system since 1996, was hired as the new Wolves coach. Most recently, Fleming was the head coach of the Northview boys basketball team for the last 10 years after leading the girls basketball program for six seasons.
Fleming will lead a consolidated boys basketball program in its first year. Northview and Dothan high schools are being combined into one school and will open in August. This past year, Dothan finished 14-12 and Northview 9-17.
“It’s an awesome opportunity,” Fleming said shortly after the school board meeting inside Beverlye Middle School. “Just like when I started in coaching and teaching, I am just happy to be involved with children. That is what made me want to get in sports after how my coaches treated me growing up in high school and college. I am just excited to have this opportunity.”
While he knows he is a historical hire as the first Wolves head coach, Fleming believes the new beginning is bigger for the players and community.
The Wolves will compete in Class 6A this upcoming season, but more than likely move into Class 7A during their second season after the state’s reclassification process takes place. Class 7A is the highest classification in the state.
“I haven’t really thought about the historical aspect of it for me as much as making sure we continue to get kids that can see beyond high school and beyond basketball and sports,” Fleming said. “That usually makes for a better team when we do.
“It hit me today that this is big for the kids, big for the community and for the surrounding area since this will be one of the largest schools in Alabama. It is more historical for the kids than for me.”
The process for a new coach began after spring break when the job was posted, but it wasn’t finalized until Thursday after several delays. The girls basketball coaching job, which eventually went to Dishon Benjamin, was also posted in early April and was finalized last month.
“Coach Fleming is very knowledge in basketball and has been coaching basketball for a long time,” Dothan principal Bill Singleton said. “He will do a great job.
“We had a panel interview the applicants and Mr. (Todd) Weeks, the personnel director, sat in on those along with a parent representative from the old Dothan High and the old Northview High , plus Stan Eldridge, the athletic director. (Superintendent) Dr. (Phyllis) Edwards took the top four and interviewed the top four.”
With the boys basketball hire coming so late, the new Wolves missed most of the A HS AA allowed summer “play date” period to play opposing teams. The period ends next Saturday, June 22. Fleming said he plans to make the most of the time until then.
“We haven’t had a basketball meeting yet,” Fleming said. “There are a number of kids that would like to be a part of it. We will start tonight trying to get that organized (with a meeting) and go throughout the weekend. Next week, we will see what we have and we will get some work in in the gym, but as far as playing other teams, right now we are strapped for time to get that together.”
Fleming indicated more than 80 kids who played at either Dothan or Northview last year are eligible to play for the Wolves and that he and the coaching staff have to dwindle that to 30 for the junior varsity and varsity teams.
As he has done for two years, Fleming will coach basketball while also handling roles as a teacher and as District 2 City Commissioner.
A lifelong resident of Dothan, Fleming attended Northview as a ninth grader before moving to Dothan High, where he played football, basketball, baseball and track and field.
After graduating in 1990, he attended college at Wingate (N.C.) and Florida A&M before walking-on and playing wide receiver at Troy University in 1992-93.
Following his Troy playing days, Fleming took his first coaching job, guiding defensive backs at Enterprise High School for legendary head coach Bill Bacon in 1995-96. He was also the junior varsity basketball coach.
A year later, he was hired at Northview as wide receivers coach and 9 th grade boys basketball coach. Two years later, he was elevated to JV boys basketball coach.
Following a two-year tenure at Carver Middle School, he returned to Northview as junior varsity boys coach before taking over the girls basketball program in 2003-04. He became the Cougars’ boys head coach in 2009-10, replacing longtime coach Floyd Griffin.
Fleming guided a struggling girls team that didn’t win a game the year before his hire and gradually built the program, eventually leading two winning seasons – 17-11 and 18-13 in 2006-07 and 2007-08 with two sub-regional appearances. Overall, he had a 58-103 record as girls coach.
In his 10 years with the Cougar boys, he had five winning seasons with three regional postseason appearances and a 144-144 record. His best team was in 2015-16 when NHS went 22-11 and reached the regional tournament.