Skip to content

Oakton High School coach wins 800th career basketball game

Victory came in his 800th game coaching the Cougars

Another lofty milestone for career victories has been reached by longtime girls high-school basketball coach Fred Priester.

His 800th win was achieved Feb. 12 when Priester’s third-seeded Oakton Cougars defeated the visiting South Lakes Seahawks, 51-45, in a first-round game of the Concorde District tournament. Oakton built an early lead in the contest and never trailed after that, although South Lakes made a late rally.

A loss would have ended the season for Oakton and Priester, one win shot of 800.

Coincidently, win No. 800 came in Priester’s 800th’s game as Oakton’s head coach. His career record at the school is 670-130.

“That made it interesting,” Priester told the GazetteLeader.

The Virginia High School League has Priester listed as the organization’s second in career wins (coaching only VHSL teams at all enrollment classifications) behind still-active coach Billy Gibson of West Springfield.

Priester became a first-time varsity head coach for the 1984-85 campaign at McLean High School, where he won 130 games 10 seasons there as the head of the girls squad. He took over as Oakton’s head coach in the 1994-95 season, taking charge of a team that finished 4-18 the season before.

Priester, a product of Indiana basketball, turned things around quickly. The Cougars finished 20-7 his first season there, won the Concorde District tournament and lost in the region semifinals. Oakton has never had a losing season under Priester.

Under Priester, the Cougars have won multiple district and region tournaments and one state championship, with two state runner-up finishes.

The win over South Lakes gave Oakton an 18-5 record this season and berth to play in the 6D North Region tourney, after first having a district-semifinal contest against the four-time defending Class 6 state champion Madison Warhawks. Oakton is the defending district-tourney champion.

After his 800th win, Priester was presented with a rock painted in school colors with the inscriptions “We are Oakton”, “Coach Priester” and “800 wins.” The coach also gathered for a team photo beside a congratulatory banner with the Oakton players and coaches.