Samuel V. Fletcher
Samuel V. Fletcher
Hometown: Manchester, England
Team: Special

Samuel V. Fletcher
Hometown:
Manchester, England
Sport:
Special
Year Inducted:
1977

Sam Fletcher, a native of Manchester, England, was the Father of Brown soccer and of schoolboy soccer in Rhode Island as well. A star as a right fullback and center halfback on several English teams before coming to this country, Sam played for Bethlehem Steel of Pennsylvania for eight years after World War I on teams that won eight successive league titles and captured the U.S. National Cup four times. He organized and coached the Providence team in the American Soccer League in 1924, later becoming president and treasurer of the N.E. division of that league. In 1926 Sam Fletcher went to see Dr. Marvel, Brown’s director of athletics, and told him that Brown should support soccer as a varsity sport. “Give me one good reason,” Dr. Marvel shot back. “And I did,” Sam recalled some years later. “I told him there were hundreds of boys at college level who weren’t big enough to be football players but who were strong and capable and loved to run and would benefit from the fine exercise and competitiveness of soccer. This appealed to Dr. Marvel, but then he asked who he would get as a coach. ‘Me,’ I replied. I told him my salary would be nothing. We simply shook hands. Later I received a small salary. It was satisfactory. Soccer was my game and I wanted these Brown boys to enjoy it. The happiest years of my life were those when I was coaching at Brown.” Sam Fletcher remained at Brown from 1926 to 1946, turning out two N.E. championship teams and two that finished second. In 1934 Brown was 6-1-1, losing only to Harvard and tying Yale, 1-1. A year later the Bears defeated Harvard for the first time in their history. The 1936 team was 7-0-3 and won the N.E. title. The next season Brown was 8-1-2 and finished first in the nation in defense while outscoring the opposition 28-4. In 1945, his final season, the Bears were 7-2. Sam Fletcher retired from coaching and from his machine business in 1946 and moved to Florida, but he returned to Rhode Island a few years later. He died Jan. 11, 1973 at age 84.