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Chaminade University

Chaminade University - Francis Fletcher, a tenacious, dominating figure on local high school and college basketball courts in the 1980s, was found dead near his home here yesterday morning, friends said.

The former Maryknoll School and Chaminade University standout was 46.

The medical examiner's office said the cause of death has yet to be determined.

"He was as tough and hard-nosed guy as I've ever had," said Merv Lopes, who coached Chaminade for 12 seasons. At Chaminade, where he played from 1984 to '87, Fletcher was deployed as a center and power forward. "It didn't matter," Lopes said, "he was, maybe, 6-foot, 6 inches, but he played with so much heart it didn't matter how big the other guys were. He didn't back down from anybody."

Lopes said Fletcher helped keep the Silverswords program winning after the celebrated Will Pounds-Chico Furtado and Richard Haenisch-Tim Dunham eras, helping Chaminade to a streak of 10 consecutive winning seasons.

Fletcher's two older brothers, Ken and Damon, were stars at Maryknoll and when they told Spartans' coach Tony Sellitto they had a brother coming along who would be even better, the coach said he took it with a grain of salt.

"Everybody tells you that," Sellitto recalled. "But they were right."

A one-time Maryknoll ball boy, the youngest Fletcher started four seasons for the Spartans and was a three-time all-state selection, helping Maryknoll to the state championship final in 1981 and '82.

He received a scholarship to Creighton University before transferring to Chaminade.

Fletcher played three seasons for the Silverswords, earning NAIA District 29 MVP in 1986. He ranked among Chaminade's all-time leaders in scoring and rebounding. He averaged 6.5 rebounds per game. He led the 1985-86 team with an average of 12.5 points a game.

Chaminade University

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