CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Jefferson had a promising young boys’ basketball coach step down to spend more time with his family. It has hired a replacement with a state championship pedigree who is coming to town to join his family.
Jefferson announced Thursday that Chris Fechner will lead the program. The 48-year-old won state titles two of the last three years in South Dakota.
Fechner was head coach at Tea Area, just outside Sioux Falls. It competes in Class A, the middle of three classes in the state.
“Sometimes championships are hard to come by,” Fechner said. “Certainly we’ve been fortunate the past three years to have played in a state championship game and win two of those. We have had some great teams and great athletes. I have had some great assistant coaches, too, and all of that can make a resume look pretty darn good.”
Tea Area featured a pair of Division I players this past season in Noah Freidel (South Dakota State) and Justin Hohn (California-Irvine). It beat perennial Iowa power Western Christian by two points late in the regular season.
Fechner, who was a middle school principal in the district, was moving east at the end of the school year regardless, as his wife, Kristin, is a teacher in the Iowa City school district. Their youngest son, Colby, will play soccer at Upper Iowa University in Fayette beginning this fall.
Oldest son, Taylor, just took a job as head boys’ basketball coach at Canton (S.D.) High School.
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“It has been interesting and a challenge at times,” said Chris Fechner, who still is seeking a full-time job in the area. “Looked at some of the openings over there in the area and had an opportunity to interview with a couple of schools. The Jefferson one was always one that was certainly appealing. I had heard some good things about the Jefferson school. A friend of mine, one of my former assistants, was a coach over in Iowa, so he at least knew of some of the schools in the area and who had solid programs. He had a lot of good things to say about Jefferson.
“Was fortunate that (Activites Director) Mr. (Chris) Deam was able to get me in there for an interview. It all has really worked out well. Certainly honored and excited to get started. I appreciate them taking a chance on me.”
Fechner replaces Brandon Horman, who resigned last month after five seasons as head J-Hawks coach. Jefferson was 10-10 this past season.
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