Brown County High School inducted three alumni into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 20.
A lifetime learner
It’s been almost 50 years since brothers Rick Fleetwood and Roger Fleetwood played high school basketball. Yet, Roger can still fire off Rick’s win-loss records: 17-6, 18-5 and 18-5.
“He’s one of the top five players, in my mind, that’s ever played at Brown County,” said Roger, who coached basketball here from 2008-2014.
Rick also excelled at track and cross country, said Roger, his older brother by a year.
“The thing I’m most proud of Rick is, he’s a lifetime learner,” he said.
Rick named Max Perry, a basketball, track and cross country head coach and government teacher, as one of his influences. He’s still his model as an educator, he said.
“His class was the most intellectually challenging class I ever had,” Rick said.
After almost three decades teaching high school, Rick sought a master’s degree at the University of Southern Indiana and now teaches at Ivy Tech and and USI.
As a master’s student, Fleetwood took the top grade in all his classes and caused a professor to set a maximum number of pages for writing assignments. “When he gets into something, he’s going to do it right,” Roger said.
At 64, Rick hasn’t played basketball in a few years. His height made him a target during pickup games, he said.
Instead, he sticks to lifting weights and running half-marathons.
“He’s the kind of example you’d like to see up on that (Hall of Fame) wall,” Roger said.
Rick still stays in touch with the community through his family; Brown County High School head volleyball coach Julie Owens is his niece.
He said he wouldn’t mind returning to live here some day.
“I very much identify with where I was raised,” he said.
A matter of principles
Twenty years after she graduated, Van Buren Elementary Principal Christy (Moore) Wrightsman still stands out to track and cross country Coach Rob Abraham.
Wrightsman broke records in the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter races, Abraham said.
If she set a goal, it always got done, said former cross country coach Karen Harper. She never complained and she never missed a practice.
“She’s really kind of the coach’s dream athlete,” Harper said.
But with that dedication comes balance, said Wrightsman’s husband, Kirk, who now coaches track and field at Brown County High School and was Wrightsman’s running partner in high school and college.
“She keeps very busy — always has been very busy — but she’s able to balance those things in life very well, between her family, friends, work,” he said.
What does Kirk Wrightsman admire most about his wife?
“There’s so many things,” he said, pausing. “I just think that the way she cares — she cares not only about what she does with her job and what she did with her running, but she also cares about people the most.”
Christy Wrightsman expressed humility at her induction.
She gave credit to her coaches, naming Harper, Abraham, Jerry Keymon, Mike Hilyard and Judy Klinger.
Harper and Klinger influenced her career choice, she said.
“I’m quite honored Christy would say that,” Harper said. “And the feeling is mutual.”
“Her success in her education and in her career and in her family is no surprise,” Harper said. “You would have expected this.”
Turning it around
A first team All-State selection by the Indiana Football Coaches Association, Gavin Chambers was an automatic inductee for the hall of fame.
Yet, from his multiple honors in high school to his time playing football in college and service in the U.S. Army, nothing about his successes has been automatic.
Chambers was always hardworking and dedicated, even in junior high, said teammate and fellow 2004 graduate Andrew Parman.
“He was a good guy,” Parman said. “He’s a good teammate, always supportive on the field.”
When Chambers and 10 other seniors played their final season, Brown County’s win-loss record was 6-37 over four years. The team hadn’t won an away game since 1997.
The first game of 2004 season, the Eagles broke the streak 68-7 against South Vermillion on the road.
Despite a 21-9 loss to Batesville in the first game of sectionals, the boys ended the season 7-3. They stacked up more wins that year than the previous four years combined.
“We were just kind of tired of being the laughingstock, pretty much,” Parman said.
The parents of the 2004 senior class created the current weight room, Chambers said. Prior to that, the athletes had lifted behind the bleachers in the main gym.
Being on that team stuck with Chambers. “I think that it helped provide a lot of discipline,” he said.
Chambers said he is glad to see Brown County honoring its past athletes and he’s impressed at the ranks he is joining.