Cover photo for Paul L. Hatcher's Obituary

Paul L. Hatcher

November 26, 1942 — August 25, 2023

Paul L. Hatcher


Coach Paul Lynwood Hatcher, 80, of Staunton, passed away on Friday, August 25, 2023, at Augusta Health in Fishersville.

He was born in the quiet Henry County community of Bassett Forks, Virginia on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1942, to the late William Thomas and Vilma Avis Shivley Hatcher.

He attended Bassett High School, Bridgewater College, and the University of Virginia, where he received a master’s degree in Secondary Education and Administration.

Coach Hatcher's achievements in basketball began as a Bridgewater College player and continued to grow as a legendary coach in the Virginia High School League. While at Bridgewater, he earned four letters from 1961 to 1966. A two-time All-Virginia Little Eight and All-Mason-Dixon Conference selection, Paul led the conference and placed third among all-state collegiate players in scoring during the 1964-65 season. Paul finished his college career with 1,358 points, an average of better than 16 points a game, and he currently stands 18th on the Bridgewater career list in scoring. He also was a four-year letter-winner in golf and was the team's number one player during his senior season.

He came to Staunton in 1966 as a physical education teacher at Shelburne Middle School. After a short tenure there, he came to Robert E. Lee High School as a junior varsity coach. Shortly thereafter, he took on the role of varsity coach and started down the road to becoming the winningest coach in Virginia High School League history.

Coach Hatcher built a nationally respected program that produced seven state players of the year.  Fifty-five of his players went on to play college basketball and fourteen of them at the Division-1 level.

Coach Hatcher received numerous civic awards, recognition from the City of Staunton, and on several different occasions, was honored by the Virginia General Assembly. One of his proudest moments was when the Lee High gym was renamed the Paul Hatcher Gymnasium in 1990.

There is little doubt that the mark Paul Hatcher left on Virginia high school sports will forever reign supreme. His lists of accomplishments include:

- a record of 897-174, the 5th highest winning percentage in the country
- 32 district championships
- 22 district tournament titles
- 13 regional titles
- 4 state titles
- 85-game winning streak (2003-2006)
- Virginia High School League Hall of Fame
- Bridgewater College Hall of Fame
- National High School Coaching Association Hall of Fame
- Robert E. Lee High School Hall of Fame
- Virginia Sports Hall of Fame

Many know the coach for his stamp of excellence as a basketball coach - but there was so much more to the man than what happened on the hardwood. Golf was a passion - so much so, that he served as the golf coach at Lee High for over thirty years and saw them take home a state championship. He loved hitting the links with his sons, Jarrett and Brandon. He also served as Lee High's Assistant Athletic Director for a short stint in the 1970s. In addition to basketball, he is probably also most remembered as the high school's beloved Driver's Education teacher - a position which he filled for over 40 years.

A true racing enthusiast, he was exposed to NASCAR at an early age by his father and was a lifelong fan of motorsports, all the while never driving above the speed limit. The excitement of the racetrack and the thrill of race day fueled his passion for the sport. In addition to racing, he enjoyed beach trips to Cherry Grove, South Carolina. Building memories with family on those sandy shores brought him immeasurable happiness. One could often find Paul engrossed in his collection of basketball cards and Dale Earnhardt memorabilia. His dedication to preserving these pieces of history was a testament to his appreciation for the things that brought him joy. He loved to read and took his beloved wife, Judy, to countless plays, concerts, and performances.

A family man to the core, he was a loving husband and father and in the last few years, a wonderful and doting granddaddy. He was also a devoted caretaker of his wife during her struggles with mental illness and her bout with cancer.

He is survived by his beloved sons, Jarrett Paul Hatcher and Brandon Lee Hatcher and his wife, Sarah Woodhouse; his sister, Joyce Ailene Hatcher Greenwood of Winston-Salem, NC; his sisters-in-law, Carolyn Lantz Hatcher and Loyce Guy Hayslett; his grandchildren, Lynlee Kate and Merritt Rebecca Hatcher; his nieces and nephews, Lisa Hatcher, Gayle and her husband, Doug Driver, Michael and his wife, Holly Hatcher, Thomas and his wife, Tracey Greenwood, Thornton and his wife, Jenny Hayslett, and Beth, Tim, and Barbara Hayslett; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews; his special lifelong friends, Buck Robinson,  Slim and Sandy Hite, Doris Collins, and all of the “New Year’s Day Gang”; and his dear friends and neighbors, Beau and Resa Beasley.

In addition to his parents and loving wife of fifty-two years, he is preceded in death by a brother, W. Wallace Hatcher; brothers-in-law, Pete Hayslett and Jack Greenwood; and a nephew, Todd Hatcher Greenwood.

The family will receive friends on Friday, September 1, 2023, from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM at Paul Hatcher Gymnasium in Staunton. This is planned as a simple and casual gathering.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at 11:00 AM at Olivet Presbyterian Church in Staunton, where Paul was a devoted member for so many years. Pastor Lee Thomas will officiate. A private graveside service will be held at Thornrose Cemetery.

It is suggested that those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Bridgewater Men's Basketball Team or to Olivet Presbyterian Church (1019 Richmond Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul L. Hatcher, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, September 1, 2023

6:30 - 8:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, September 2, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Olivet Presbyterian Church

1019 Richmond Ave, Staunton, VA 24401

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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