The Passing Game

The story of the greatest coach you've never heard of.

When you talk about affecting people’s lives in the field of coaching, he has to go down as one of the greatest of all time.
— Billy Donovan, NBA Head Coach

Sydney Johnson ‘92 speaks at the court dedication ceremony in 2018. His is one of the many voices we hear from in the film, and his story another example of how Coach Arritt played a small part in some major moments in basketball history.

Anyone who knows him will tell you that retired basketball coach Fletcher Arritt is one of the greatest coaches to ever live. Why? The answer depends on who you talk to. Successful coaches will say Arritt’s teams employed some really interesting strategies to win an impressive number of games … former players will tell you he had a huge, even transformative impact on their lives.

Never heard of Coach Arritt? That’s a clue about the kind of man he is.

Here’s another clue: a cornerstone of his coaching approach was his belief in the truth It is better to give than to receive, a truth that he taught as much by example as by word.

In fact, the only reason he’s not famous is that he’s never cared about fame. Rather than accepting one of the many offers to “advance” to the collegiate level this generous, down to earth man stayed where he was, recruiting high school graduates with uncertain futures to give them a solid shot at a satisfying life.

In today’s culture where skill is lauded so highly, the importance of character development can be overlooked. But Coach enlisted youth not just because they were good players, but because he saw them as good people. He then empowered them to become strong, successful people on and off the court.

Nobody did a better job of preparing kids for college than Fletcher did with his kids at Fork Union.
— Bob Knight, Hall of Fame Coach
Fletcher and Betty Jean Arritt take the floor prior to Coach Arritt’s final home game.

Fletcher and Betty Jean Arritt take the floor prior to Coach Arritt’s final home game.

Coach Arritt worked his magic by guiding his players to discover they had everything they needed inside themselves. As you’ll see in the film his methods were simple, old-school, and at times curious. Oh but they worked so well.

In 42 years at Fork Union Military Academy, Arritt sent over 450 players to the collegiate ranks and won over 880 contests. He earned the respect and admiration of countless students and some of the best coaches in the world. And by the way, Arritt was a biology teacher and was not paid to coach basketball .

The Passing Game examines Coach Arritt’s simple, yet profound, philosophy and approach while it entertains and inspires viewers to step up their own personal game. In today’s divided and splintered world, this is a story that needs to be told. We urgently request your support to make that happen.


We are currently working to complete the film for festival submissions in 2019.
Your support is crucial to the timely release of this film.
Please give as you are able.


The film footage, shot from 2007-2018, is currently in post-production. With sufficient support The Passing Game will be ready for festival and distributor submissions by July, 2019. Your contribution is crucial to the timely release of this film. All tax-deductible donations can be made to the film’s fiscal agent, The Southern Documentary Fund:

©2018 The Passing Game Productions, LLC