Ben Hall is returning to his high school coaching roots.
Jefferson High’s football coach has accepted the same position at Flowery Branch High, the school announced Wednesday in a news release. Hall served as the Falcons’ offensive line coach in 2008 before joining Jefferson’s staff as offensive coordinator the following year.
“I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Flowery Branch football program,” he said in the news release. “My family and I will be returning to the community where I began my high school coaching career, and I could not be more appreciative of the (Flowery Branch) administration for their confidence to allow me this opportunity.
“I would also like to thank the Jefferson community for eight wonderful years of serving their school. I will forever be grateful for my time there.”
Hall’s hiring still requires approval from the Hall County Board of Education, which meets Jan. 9.
Flowery Branch athletic director Jimmy Lawler said Hall was “certainly at the top of our list” of candidates to replace Chris Griffin, who after five years at the position resigned Nov. 18. The school fielded a slew of applications, but Hall had a leg up thanks to his familiarity with the Falcons.
“With a lot of people that you interview or that send résumés, you don’t know them. You see them on paper through their résumé, then you talk to them in a couple-hour interview,” Lawler said. “You don’t know them like we were able to know coach Hall because of his year here. We knew the type of man we were getting, the type of coach: a high-character guy.”
Hall pairs his personality with an outstanding track record on the field.
He amassed a 44-8 record over four years at Jefferson, guiding the Dragons to at least 10 wins and a second-round playoff appearance each season. Jefferson won its region title twice during Hall’s tenure, which began with the Dragons in Class AA and ended with a AAAA playoff semifinal appearance.
As offensive coordinator in 2012 — the year before his promotion to head coach — Jefferson won the AA state championship.
“Coach Hall has some new ideas and some fresh faces on the staff. He’s a highly motivated individual,” Lawler said. “From all indications this morning here, there’s a lot of excitement. Kids are excited, the community is excited.”
Flowery Branch informed its football players of the coaching hire Wednesday morning before publicly announcing the news, Lawler said. It was the culmination of a speedy process the school began the day after Griffin announced his resignation.
The school accepted résumés for about three weeks and conducted interviews for another two.
“You don’t want it to drag on,” Lawler said. “If you can find the right person pretty quickly, that’s what you want to do.”
That’s what the Falcons did with Hall, who Lawler said had “mutual interest (with the school) from the very beginning.” The coach met with Flowery Branch officials twice and began hammering out the details of his hire.
Hall now takes over a program that hasn’t made the playoffs in three years and finished 2016 with its first losing record (3-7) since 2004.
“We don’t expect miracles in the first year or two,” Lawler said. “But we do feel like we’ve got the right guy to lead us for the long term, to get things turned around and back to one of the top programs in AAAAA.”