SOFTBALL: Chris Fanning picks up 500th victory at Sahuarita

April 14, 2018 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

(Sahuarita Photo)

Sahuarita head softball coach Chris Fanning picked up his 500th coaching victory on Friday thanks to a 15-3 win over Florence. A 1986 graduate of Sahuarita, Fanning went on to play baseball for New Mexico State and then came home in 1992 to become the first softball coach in school history.

His first victory was a 13-10 hitting duel with Benson in the spring of 1993 and he continued for 19 years until he moved into administration. He coached the Mustangs to state championships in 1999 and 2011 and runner-up finishes in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2010.

“I missed the classroom and coaching so I jumped at chance to coach again after three years away,” Fanning said on his return to the dugout four years ago.

“I have been very lucky to have two fantastic assistant coaches. Doyle Fleck and my brother Steve (Skeeter) have been with me for over 20 years. They have been invaluable and have provided continuity. There is no way that we would be as successful as we have been without the contributions that the two of them have made. I owe much of our success to Doyle and Skeeter. I have been very lucky to coach so many talented players. It seems like when one group of girls graduated we had a new crop come through to keep things going. It would be unfair to all of the great players to single out a few but we have had many players continue their careers at the college level. Our success is due to the girl’s hard work and dedication to the game.”

Almost unheard of, Fanning had most of his success with players coming up through the Sahuarita school system.

“I am very proud of the fact that our success has been with home grown players,” Fanning added. “I remember being at a coaches meeting after our 2011 championship and hearing one of the coaches talk about how almost all of their players were open enrolled and lived in other attendance zones. All 12 players from our team went to our middle school.”