By Essence Richardson
Let’s welcome the Lead Coach of the CRS Basketball Program, Matt Fleisher, known on the court as Coach Matt. Matt began with Chicago Rec Sports in the summer of 2020 – initially as a volunteer with the early programming in the organization. His involvement included the former eSports League as well as marketing responsibilities. With a bachelors degree in Sports Management from the University of Bowling-Green, he was an excellent addition to the CRS Family. Today Coach Matt leads both CRS girls and boys basketball programs. You will find him at basketball practices, as well as basketball game days. We also are fortunate to have Coach Matt contributing to other CRS programs, such as soccer and camps.
His involvement with CRS grew as he became involved in more programs such as special community events and summer camp. Matt has been involved with CRS since the early days and coached some of the first soccer and basketball programs offered at CRS.
Sports have played a role in Matt’s life since childhood. He played both club-level soccer and rec-level basketball throughout his adolescence, but Matt’s real love for basketball came a bit later, in Junior High. He has played and enjoyed the sport ever since.
Coach Matt is a Chicago Northside native and an avid sports fan. When he is not coaching, you might find him playing ultimate frisbee or frisbee golf and practicing his bowling (strikes). As for outside of sports, he describes himself as a “foodie” – he enjoys trying a variety of food/cuisines all over the city. Although he no longer plays competitive basketball, he still keeps his foot on the court. When asked about his coaching style, he said, “fun, humorous, and motivating.” He explained that he’s always trying to keep his team feeling positive with engaging practices, and he makes sure the team can have fun laughing at his goofy jokes. He says, “If my coaches are comfortable and the kids are receiving the attention they need, then we are good.”
Matt takes his role as a Lead Coach very seriously and explained that providing constant encouragement for his players is of the utmost importance to him. He feels that helping and witnessing the players overcome doubt as they take-on new challenges is one of the most rewarding parts of coaching. When asked what he hopes the players take away from the Basketball program, he said, “My big thing is you can’t do it, yet, right? Not yet, but we are going to get you there.” He continually aims to instill confidence and inspiration in his players, and he has been doing just that. Coach Matt has consistently led by example season after season and CRS is fortunate to have him on our team!
Check out Coach Matt’s – Fun Facts!
Favorite basketball player (past or present)? Coach Matt: “One of my top players of all time is Kevin Garnett. He’s from Chicago and played for the Celtics.” Half of Matt’s family is from Boston, so that has made him a big Celtics fan. Other favorite basketball players include Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.
Favorite current NBA player? Coach Matt: “Desmond Bane on the Memphis Grizzlies.” Matt explained he’s not the best in the League, but he has enjoyed watching Bains this year.
If you could coach any basketball team (past or present) it is? Coach Matt: “The Chicago Bulls – years 2010-12.” He would especially like to coach players Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Carlos Boozer.