A week ago, after resigning his position as coach of the East Hall boys basketball team to take the same position at South Gwinnett, Joe Dix said that he’d be a Viking for life.
While that may not be a certainty yet, it will be true for the near future.
Dix decided on Wednesday, after a week of misgivings, that he would remain with the Vikings after all, according to East Hall principal Jeff Cooper.
Dix had accepted a position to coach at South Gwinnett High on May 21, calling it one of the most difficult decisions of his life.
Cooper said that Dix spoke with him over the weekend about his decision, however, before making the decision official on Wednesday.
"I missed everybody more than I thought I would once I got down there," Dix said. "South Gwinnett was great. The administration was great, the players were great, everyone was great. But my heart was still at East Hall, and it wasn't fair to them."
Dix said that it was the bond with his players that ultimately made him decide to return.
"A lot of them I've know since they were 4 or 5 years old," he said. "I coached some of their older brothers. I knew them coming up. There was just a bond there that I wasn't prepared to break."
Dix began as the East Hall ninth grade coach in 1996 and became the junior varsity coach in 1997. He assisted his predecessor Seth Vining to two state championships and won his own state title in his first season as head coach in 2004-2005.
In eight years as head coach, Dix has compiled a record of 187-52, including seven playoff appearances, three final fours, five Lanierland championships and three region titles.
After all the success, Dix said last week that he was ready for a new challenge and that he had “the urge to try to do it somewhere else.”
With the coach returning, however, East Hall looks to be in good position going forward.
The Vikings finished last season 22-8, falling to Manchester in the second round of the state playoffs.
They will lose six seniors from that team due to graduation, including leading scorer and Times 2012 Player of the Year J.C. Hampton, but will still feature a number of talented players.
They will be led by first-team All-Region selection Brian Edwards (17 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals) and sharpshooter Hayden Chapman (13.5 points, 40 percent 3s).
When realignment goes into effect for the 2012-13 school year, the Vikings will compete in 7B-AAA with Banks County, Buford and West Hall. Subregion A teams include: Dawson County, Fannin County, North Hall and White County.
Cooper said that East Hall is happy to approach the future with a familiar face.
“We’re glad to have him back,” Cooper said.