Corder: Fletcher heeds God’s destined call

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2004

In a world drunk on possessions and slogans such as, &uot;He who dies with the most toys, wins,&uot; Perry Fletcher took the road less traveled.

Sure, there were moments in Morton, kicking it with best friend Deuce McAllister where the two saw guys they looked up to rolling around in extravagant cars and wearing name brand threads.

But Perry’s mom never used material things as a crutch.

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Instead Perry took pride in what his single mother provided &045; his father died when he was 10 &045; thankful to have clothes on his back.

Never a believer in hypocrisy, Fletcher has once again left possible greener pastures to pursue God’s voice.

In April, he resigned as Alcorn State’s assistant basketball coach and will enroll in Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson in August.

&uot;I’ve been stepping out on faith, and I do believe God has a purpose and plan,&uot; said Fletcher, whose first sermon came back home at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist last November. &uot;I left Alcorn not knowing if I was going to have a job. He opened doors for me. Everything fell into place.&uot;

Fletcher preached throughout the season, meaning the morning after home games and before Monday contests you could find the former Jackson State standout in the pulpit.

Fletcher hated leaving Alcorn but trusts in the path the Lord has him on.

&uot;I thank God for being able to work with Coach (Sam) West. He’s been supportive of my decision,&uot; Fletcher said. &uot;I hated it because (the coaches and players) got real comfortable in the postseason. We became a family. It was like leaving my younger brothers.&uot;

Both as a player and coach, Fletcher witnessed young men acting self-righteous, strutting around as if their scholarship belonged to them without them working for it.

&uot;My mom worked two jobs so I could have what she never had. I know what it means to come up hungry,&uot; he said. &uot;So many kids in the generation don’t have a positive influence, and they’re going astray. I want them to get back to a level where they see, ‘You can make it.’ The world doesn’t owe you anything.&uot;

Currently Fletcher is involved in starting his own mentoring program in Morton called Helping Our People Excel, or HOPE.

His last year as a player at Jackson State was tumultuous, Fletcher said, with head coach Andy Stogin on the hot seat.

The Tigers lost their last six regular season games.

&uot;The coaches were furious. They were ready to rip our throats, but Coach Stogin stood up for us,&uot; Fletcher said. &uot;We were embarrassing ourselves.&uot;

But a funny thing happened in the SWAC Tournament. J-State won it all and secured an implausible NCAA Tournament berth.

&uot;To this day that team has a special bond,&uot; said Fletcher of the Tigers, whose pumpkin arrived after a 16-point defeat in the opening round to Arizona. &uot;Whatever Coach (Stogin) said, we did. If we lost, we were going to lose his way.&uot;

Similarly &045; whatever persecution he endured &045; Fletcher won’t fall short in heeding his most important call.

Chuck Corder

is a sports writer for The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3633 or by e-mail at