FLOWERY BRANCH — Flowery Branch High athletic director Shannon Benton was looking for a girls basketball coach that would instill a hard-nosed work ethic to the program. He feels like he found the right candidate in former assistant coach Hazel Hall, who was announced as the new Lady Falcons coach on Wednesday.
"She’s done a great job as a coach before," Benton said. "I know exactly what kind of program she is going to run.
"I’m excited about the direction she’s going to take this program in."
Benton says the coaching position created plenty of interest with 27 applicants. Of those that applied, nine were initially interviewed and eventually pared down to a field of three for a second interview.
Hall, who spent one season as an assistant coach with the Lady Falcons, conducted her final interview with Benton on Monday and was informed she was hired Tuesday. A 17-year head coaching veteran, Hall becomes only the second girls basketball head coach in school history. She was drawn to the school by the level of competition of basketball in this area.
"Hall County is a hotbed for basketball," Hall said. "There is always good basketball right here."
The new Lady Falcons head coach has a career record of 273-167 with eight trips to the state tournament in her career. The highlight of Hall’s career came when she led Oconee County to the state semifinals in 1997.
She’s coached at Northwest Georgia High (now Dade County), eight seasons at Oconee County, five seasons at Model and was also as an assistant coach at Reinhardt College for two years.
Hall’s philosophy with the Lady Falcons is to hit the ground running. She wants to focus on playing a pressing style of defense and steadily improve as the season progresses.
"We have a lot of work to do," Hall said. "But hopefully we’ll continue to improve and get in there and upset someone to get into the state tournament, which is the goal of every team."
With one basketball coach hired that leaves only the boys basketball coaching vacancy to be filled. Former Falcons coach Todd Cottrell became the new Gainesville High head coach last Friday.
"We have two applicants for that position that people would be very excited about," Benton said.