08:04 AM

From agency to the basketball court, Chad Fleming leads by example


When Chad Fleming’s alma mater fired its basketball coach two weeks before the start of the season, they called Chad. He had a decision to make.

They say you never forget your first love. For Chad Fleming, it’s hard not to forget.Basketball has reigned supreme in Chad’s life from early on, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Following a stellar hoops career, Chad was a teacher for seven years, and also coached boys’ golf and basketball. But seven years and two kids later, Chad found a new opportunity with American Family. And, he’s succeeded, earning multiple awards.

Coaching isn’t just for the court

Chad left his whistle and clipboard at Liberty, but he brought the traits that made him a good coach to his agency: Team spirit, a welcoming environment, a focus on education and a competitive nature.

“I run my agency like it’s my team,” says Chad. “The most important thing is culture. I want my team to want to be excited to come in every day. It’s also important that we educate our customers – not only about the products themselves, but the why behind them.”

Getting back in the game

Two weeks before the 2017 season was to start, Liberty High needed help. The girls’ basketball coach had just been fired, and they were short on options. Chad was Plan A. There was no Plan B.

“They asked if I’d coach for the year,” said Chad. “I didn’t have much time to decide, but I didn’t need it. Once I got the OK from my wife and staff, it was full steam ahead.”

Trusting the process

The season got off to a slower start than Chad would’ve liked. “It took a bit for us to come together,” says Chad. “Trust had to be developed, and I had to learn the girls’ skill sets.”

There was, however, one player Chad knew pretty well. He’d been scouting her for 16 years. His sister, Jillian, was a sophomore starter. “Having the chance to coach her while also helping out my alma mater just made sense.”

As the season progressed, so did the Blue Jays. They finished 22-9 and made it to the Final Four.

Being a team player

Chad and the Blue Jays had a very successful year on the court. But that’s not to say Chad turned a blind eye to his customers – not by a long shot. His other team – back at the office – made sure of that.

“I left work at 3 p.m. every day for practice, and called my office manager, Heather, after every practice to see how the rest of the day went – I couldn’t have done it without them,” says Chad.

“I didn’t want to have one foot in and one foot out – I commited to the girls 100 percent,” says Chad. “I got a chance to help them live out a dream of playing in the state tournament. AmFam is all about dreams, so having the opportunity to help my school and a group of kids live their dream meant a lot to me. I was extremely fortunate to work with two great teams this year.”