Thinking back on her childhood, Jhay Fletcher, assistant coach of the Stonehill College women’s basketball team, fondly recalls imitating the coaches she saw on television.

“When I was a little girl, I used to carry this whistle around and mimic Phil Jackson, the former head coach of the LA Lakers,” she said. “It makes sense that I chose this career.” 

As Fletcher uses the knowledge that she has gained through years of coaching experience to help lead the Skyhawks to victory, here are 10 things to know about her.

Fletcher's first season coaching at Stonehill coincides with the College's first season competing on the Division I level as part of the Northeast Conference (NEC).

1. She enjoys being part of the Stonehill family. Fletcher joined the Skyhawks in August 2022. Throughout her first season at the College, she has placed focus on getting to know her players. “There’s a family atmosphere here,” she said. “I love that aspect of working at Stonehill. [Head Coach Trisha Brown] has done a great job building our team’s culture.”

2. She shows herself and others grace. Fletcher notes that she feels a particular kinship with the first-year student-athletes on her team. “It’s their rookie year as players, just like it’s my rookie year as a coach,” she said. “I always try to remind them that if they mess up, it doesn’t make them less of a player or less of a person. We should show ourselves grace, while also taking accountability for our mistakes. We can’t make excuses. It’s important to make those fixes when we can.”

3. She embraces joy in her work. In the short time she has been with the Skyhawks, Fletcher has learned a lot from her players. “They’ve taught me the importance of relaxing,” she said. “They know how to joke around. Coaching can be challenging at times, but they make it fun.”

4. She is excited for what’s to come. Fletcher’s first year at Stonehill coincides with the College’s first year in the Northeast Conference, a Division I conference. “Our players are handling the jump to DI so well,” she said. “At the moment, we’re in a building phase. We have the talent and I think we can go far. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future of this program holds.”

5. She used to live in Charm City. Prior to joining the Stonehill community, Fletcher spent several years working as a graduate assistant coach at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. “I grew up a lot during that experience, especially being in the city all by myself during a pandemic,” she said. “My time there helped me understand what it means to be an adult.” 

Fletcher practices her shooting technique in the Merkert Gymnasium.

6. She values her players. Though she no longer works at Goucher, Fletcher believes the bonds she built there will last. “I’m still really close with a lot of the women on the team,” she said. “We stay in touch with each other. We text a lot.” She hopes to forge the same type of working relationship with Skyhawks as she continues getting to know them. 

7. She is on a roll. Playing basketball is not the only way Fletcher stays active. She also enjoys roller skating. “It’s a great way to pass the time,” she said. “My older cousin taught me how to skate when I was a kid. I stopped after a while but picked it back up during the pandemic.”

8. Her life is a juggling act. Fletcher also learned how to juggle during the pandemic. “I taught myself and I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it,” she notes. “I relied on YouTube videos when I was learning. It’s a good way to deal with anxiety. If my mind is running, I’ll juggle.”

9. She’s got the music in her. When she isn’t roller skating or juggling, Fletcher enjoys playing the guitar. “I mostly play for my friends,” she said. “Music has always been a part of my life. My father had a band when I was growing up, so I asked him to teach me. I also got my taste in music from him. He loved Jimi Hendrix, and I love him now, too. I also love Prince, AC/DC and Bob Marley.”

10. She bonds with her loved ones through basketball. In addition to being music lovers, Fletcher’s family members also like basketball as much as she does. “We watch it all, whether it’s the NBA, WNBA or college hoops,” she said. “I have a lot of great memories of having people over to watch games. We’d have parties during the finals. It’s nice that basketball is a part of my life in that way.”

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