WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Chris Fleeger admitted he was a little stunned when he moved to Southwest Georgia last year and discovered that wrestling was “more of a hobby.”
He didn’t stick around very long to help change the lifestyle.
On Friday, Fleeger was hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater Purdue University, ending his one-year stint as head coach of the Cavs. Fleeger wrestled for the Boilermakers from 2002 to 2006, was just the third wrestler in school history to earn All-America honors three times and was national runner-up twice.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to coach at Purdue and to coach alongside coach Hinkel, and now I get to live that dream,” Fleeger said, according to a press release sent out by the school Friday. “I’m excited about the potential that we have on our team at Purdue, and I can’t wait to get back in there with some of the guys I’ve worked with in the past, as well as get to know the rest of the team. We have great things in store.”
Purdue wrestling coach Scott Hinkel said in the same press release he was excited to bring Fleeger back to Purdue.
“You can’t put a price tag on someone who wants to be here, and Chris really wants to be here,” Hinkel said. “It’s not a job for him, it’s a passion, it’s an opportunity and it’s a chance for him to come home. This is where he wants to be. Chris can help us take the program somewhere it hasn’t been in a really long time. He did it as an athlete, and now he has the chance to do it as a coach.”
Attempts by The Herald to reach Fleeger and Darton athletic director Mike Kiefer on Friday were unsuccessful.
Fleeger was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Championships in 2003 after capturing the conference title at 125 pounds, putting together the second-best single-season record in school history (32-1). Fleeger still owns the second-best winning percentage in Purdue history (.905), and he also owns spots on the career record lists for falls and back points.
As the head coach at Darton, Fleeger was named the NJCAA Eastern District “Man of the Year” after leading six Cav wrestlers to the NJCAA wrestling championships in 2012. Under Fleeger’s guidance, sophomore Trey Hicks earned All-America honors with an eighth-place finish at 184 pounds, becoming just the second such national honoree in Darton history.
Darton baseball loses two of three games in final regular-season series, falls to No. 3 seed in upcoming Region XVII Tournament
ALBANY — Darton’s baseball team split a pair of games with Georgia Perimeter on Saturday, which means the Cavaliers will be the No. 3 seed next week’s Region XVII Tournament at Covington.
They will open the double-elimination tournament against East Georgia at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Cavs needed to win at least two games against Georgia Perimeter this weekend to earn the No. 2 seed, but they lost, 10-9, in 13 innings Friday and lost the second game of a doubleheader Saturday.
Darton won Saturday’s opener, 9-2, as former Lee County star Matt Aldrich improved to 8-2 with a complete game. He gave up two runs, but only one was earned, on four hits. He also struck out four and didn’t allow a walk.
Parker Nix went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and a two-run double, and Cody Wofford belted a three-run homer to lead the Cavs in their lone win. But Georgia Perimeter erupted for a seven-run fifth in the nightcap and beat Darton, 7-1, to drop Darton to the No. 3 seed.
Jordan Billhauer (4-3) took the loss. He gave up five runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out one.
Darton (36-19 overall and 21-11 in the region) has now lost 10 of its last 13 games.