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Chase Fieler Coach

By: Shannon Houser, Jillian Risberg
By: Shannon Houser, Jillian Risberg

UPDATE: 3/18/13, 8:56 PM

His former coach at Parkersburg South calls Chase an exciting player.

"I always said when I first saw him play reminded me of Larry Bird, the legend from Boston, that he had the ability to pass the ball, he could see the floor, just instincts that coaches couldn't do," says former Coach Joe Crislip. "He was just a big time player, first team all-state his senior year and had some highlight dunks even in his high school career."

It all had to start somewhere.

"He was kind of an unknown, had a lot of smaller schools looking at him. When it was all said and done, Eastern Kentucky and Florida Gulf Coast got interested in him," Crislip says.

Many reached out to Coach Balza to say they had a player in Parkersburg he needed to take a look at... and it paid off.
Coach of former Parkersburg South High School basketball star Chase Fieler not at all surprised by his success.

"He (Balza) finally, along with some assistance from the south coaches calling and sending films and so forth came to Parkersburg South, saw him play," Crislip says. "Offered him a full ride after they saw it and the rest is history."

From working at Elite Sports Center to attending church, Chase's connection to the community goes way back.

"We have a lot of ties with Chase and his family and so we followed him. Not surprised by his success as a player but surprised with the team's success," Crislip says. "No one would think, you know this is history what they're doing right now, so that's very exciting."

Other teams could have benefited from the standout on the court.

"There's no question that some schools missed out on Chase, but it's like a lot of kids -- being in the right place at the right time," Crislip says.

Many say the West Virginia native was always a basketball superstar but also a really nice guy.

"When he was in my class, he treated every kid the same, he didn't think he was any better than the others," Crislip says. "He was just a good, Christian young man."

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A local athlete is gaining national attention. Former Parkersburg South High School star Chase Fieler helped his team dance on in the NCAA tournament.

A 15 Seed team advances to the Sweet 16. It's an unlikely story, but for Florida Gulf Coast University, it's a dream come true. All with the help of Chase Fieler.

"Now we have someone to watch and it's exciting to hear his name," says Parkersburg South High School Assistant Principal, Tim McCartney.

South senior, Aimee Chapman says, "it's really exciting to see Chase Fieler in the national spotlight. It brings a lot of hype to our school."

The former Parkersburg South star is dancing in the big time. He's started in every game for the Eagles, with an average of 12 points, skills Patriots fans remember well.

"It's exciting to watch him out there now, seeing someone you know be so successful and it's pretty awesome," says former teammate and South senior, Tyler Bolen.

Success Chase showed both on and off the court at South before graduating in 2010.

"Chase was an excellent student. Really kind of quiet and never in any trouble or anything. Of course he was tall and a good basketball player, but he's really a great kid," McCartney adds.

"Chase was a great teammate. I was a freshman when he was a senior and he was always very nice and helpful. He made everyone feel important to the team," Bolen says.

Those who know Chase says he's still the same guy who used to walk through the halls of Parkersburg South High school and even with all the national attention, he still hasn't forgotten where he's from.

"Chase is still the same nice guy he always was. Before we played in our state basketball tournament, he texted most of the guys on the team good luck and not be nervous," says Bolen.

"It's exciting to see someone like that have success not only in Parkersburg but West Virginia and going out there and doing great things on the basketball court," McCartney says.

Florida Gulf Coast University goes on to play Florida on Friday.

NOTE: Because of NCAA restrictions, we are unable to post the video of this story on our website.


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