Courtesy of Mark Martin
Wilson football coach Horace Fleming III died on May 13, 2019, at the age of 70. Fleming, who had been ill for a long period of time, left his mark on the Wilson community as a life-changing mentor to many of his students.
Fleming was a part of the Wilson community for 31 years as both a coach and a P.E. teacher. He served as a trusted guide for students and changed the lives of many by doing everything he could to help student-athletes play at the next level. Fleming coached the football team for 28 years and spent many seasons coaching the girls basketball team. He received numerous awards including DCIAA Coach of the Year in both basketball and football and was also inducted into the DC Coaches Hall of Fame in 2008.
One of his former players, current football Head Coach Mark Martin, who had coached with and played under Fleming describes him as a “father figure.” “He mentored me since the age of 14 and was an all-around good person,” Martin added.
Girls basketball Head Coach and Athletic Coordinator Nadira Ricks played under Fleming for all of her three years on the girls basketball team. Ricks also describes his influence on her as “a great mentor.” “He’s a big reason as to why I wanted to come back and coach at Wilson,” Ricks said.
Since his death, his family has begun to organize the Horace Fleming Scholarship Fund to better support athletes looking to continue their athletics in college. Rather than giving athletes one scholarship, the fund will support an athlete’s financial needs throughout their time at college.
The new turf field, due in late July, will officially be named Horace Fleming III field. The home opener for the football team will mostly be a memorial to Fleming and the deep impact he left on the Wilson community.