John Fletcher, the baseball coach at Mills Godwin High School for the past eight years, will take the head coaching job at Richard Bland for the college's inaugural team.
Josh Gentry, an assistant under Fletcher for seven seasons, will be the interim head coach at Godwin for the 2021 season, Eagles activities director Tom Nadeau said. Nadeau said the position will be posted.
Fletcher, whose daughter recently graduated from Godwin, still is teaching at the school. He has been the head coach of the baseball program since 2012 and is in his 10th year teaching there. Fletcher previously coached at Manchester High (1997-2005) and J.R. Tucker High (2007-11). His career record is 258-152, including a 119-43 mark at Godwin.
"It was just a great opportunity," Fletcher said of the job at Richard Bland, adding that he previously had no intention of leaving the Godwin program.
"I absolutely love Mills Godwin and the community there. But opportunities like this don't come often for high school guys."
Fletcher said he's excited to take on the challenges associated with starting a program from scratch, and that the new opportunity drew him to the upstart program in Petersburg. He added that Central Virginia lacks junior college programs to provide collegiate opportunities for the area's wealth of baseball talent. Richard Bland baseball's first season is slated for spring 2022.
"There's some great programs in the state of Virginia," Fletcher said. "But most of the time in this area, kids are deciding between playing Division III or 'Am I good enough for Division I?' So this offers another avenue."
A Leesburg native, Fletcher graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1991 and has taught mathematics in the Richmond area since 1993.
Richard Bland director of athletics Scott Newton said Fletcher's success at the high school level and background in education made him a perfect fit to take the helm of his new program.
"It was too good of a match to not have," Newton said. "We're excited about his connections in the Richmond area and his ability to train the kids. So that's really what set him apart from the rest of the other candidates."