Legendary hoops coach Paul Hatcher selected as Grand Marshall for Happy Birthday America parade
Hatcher who is most noted for his work as the head coach at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, where in 1998 he became the winningest coach in VHSL history.
“This year there was one name suggested and one name unanimously agreed on for the Grand Marshall of the HBA parade – Paul Hatcher,” said event organizer Wil Reid. “I think being a ‘Marshall’ is the only thing Coach hasn’t done!”
“What a great man!” added fellow Board member Langdon Reid. “He has given so much of his time and talent to this community and kids.”
“I could not be more excited to have Coach join our Parade as the Grand Marshall,” said HBA parade director Andrew Dietz. “He is such an icon, having dedicated so much time and effort to the betterment of our community and the youth in it. He has had such a positive impact on so many people.”
Hatcher has been recognized several times by the City of Staunton for his work with young people in the community. He received the Outstanding Citizen and Community Service award from the Staunton City Council in 1977, and in 1984 was cited by the city for his contributions to the youth of Staunton. In 1990, Coach Hatcher and the R.E. Lee team were recognized by the Virginia General Assembly, and the following year the House of Delegates passed a resolution honoring both Hatcher and his players.
Throughout his 43-year coaching career, he has won four state titles, coached an 85-game win streak, and is a member of five Hall of Fames. Most notably, the gym in Robert E. Lee High School was named “Paul Hatcher Gymnasium” in 1990, and the mayor of Staunton proclaimed a day in his honor.
The Happy Birthday America parade will commence at 10 a.m. on July 4 at Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park. The free concert that evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will feature hometown headliners, Wilson Fairchild, (Langdon and Wil Reid) along with special guests The Malpass Brothers.
Happy Birthday America is a non-profit organization hosting the annual Independence Day festivities in Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park. The event was created by The Statler Brothers in 1970 as a free, family-oriented, hometown celebration of July 4. Details may be found at www.happybirthdayamerica.org.