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High school basketball: East Hall announces new girls basketball coach who has deep ties to Gainesville
Brad Cochran
Union County coach Brad Cochran talks with players during a 2023 game.

Brad Cochran has always had a deep desire to be a high school basketball head coach in Hall County. 

Now, he’s got his chance. 

On Tuesday, Cochran was announced as the new girls basketball coach at East High, taking the position previously held by Justin Wheeler, who stepped down March 17 to focus on working as an assistant boys coach going forward.

The announcement was made in a press release from Hall County athletics director Stan Lewis.  

The new Lady Vikings coach said he got a chance to meet with his new players earlier in the day and got a great response to his first introduction. 

“When I spoke with the girls this morning, I asked ‘who’s excited about playing and they all said they were,’” said Cochran, who was coach of the Union County girls in 2022-23 and finished 14-11. 

Having played in high school at North Hall, Cochran said he’s always had a reverence for East Hall’s tradition, which includes six state championships, 27 region titles and 42 Lanierland titles across both boys and girls basketball. 

When Cochran found out the position was available to come back to Gainesville, he said it was a position he was immediately interested in pursuing. 

“It means a lot to come home and coach at East Hall,” Cochran said. “It’s truly a blessing.”

Prior to coaching at Union County, Cochran was a women’s assistant coach at Piedmont College in Demorest for seven seasons. 

He said that every season at Division-III Piedmont, one of his primary recruiting targets was players who came through East Hall. 

Cochran’s first stint as an assistant coach was at Lakeview Academy, where he worked under legendary boys coach Seth Vining (who has more than 700 career wins, all in Hall County) and former Lady Lions girls coach John Carrick. 

The new East Hall girls coach plans to complete the current school year in Blairsville, then hit the ground running with summer-league basketball with the Lady Vikings. 

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