He’s in his second stint as the boys basketball coach, with the first starting in 1977. Fields has been a winner for the Patriots, and this year was no different.
By winning more than 20 games, taking the Region 3-AA championship and advancing to the second round of the Class AA state playoffs, Fields is The Augusta Chronicle’s pick for the Georgia Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
“This was truly an outstanding season,” Fields said. “It’s truly amazing what can be accomplished in team sports when no one cares who gets the credit for success or the failures. The players gave us all they had. I thought the efforts were admirable and the results were rewarding.”
Led by Frank Booker’s scoring ability and depth that came through, Westside won the Region 3-AA tournament title, earning the final win against Laney on the Wildcats’ home floor.
A former player at South Carolina State, Fields is a true basketball man. As his playing time decreased his senior season in college because of a youth movement, Fields quickly evolved into a coach. He intently watched the game and began offering advice.
He also soaked up ideas and coaching tips along the way – keep those kids running – and even later sat in on some of Bob Knight’s practices at Indiana. Though there wasn’t an open spot for Fields as a graduate assistant, Knight invited Fields to come watch.
Eventually, Fields came to Westside. He left to take a job at Orangeburg-Wilkinson in the mid-1980s, but he wasn’t gone too long. Fields returned “home” in 1996, and the Patriots have been winning.
“For me, since I’ve been here so long, Westside is home,” Fields said. “You can always go home. Since ‘96, coming back here, I sometimes wonder why I left. But I left for the challenge and I returned for the challenge.
“Westside is the best side.”