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High school basketball: Lakeview Academy picks coach with strong credentials to lead program
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North Hall head coach Tyler Sanders speaks with his team during a timeout Wednesday night in the Region 7-AAA tournament play against Lumpkin County at East Hall High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

After a thorough search, Lakeview Academy’s boys basketball team has its new coach. On Tuesday, Tyler Sanders was tabbed to take over the position vacated when former coach Todd Cottrell accepted the same position May 19 at Dawson County. 

“I’m very excited and honored to be the new coach at Lakeview Academy,” said Sanders, who guided North Hall to the postseason in four of the seven years he was its coach. “I can’t wait to get into the gym and get to work with these guys.”

Sanders was at North Hall for the first 12 years of his coaching career. The first five seasons, he was an assistant to Benjie Wood, who now is at Cherokee Bluff.

Lakeview Academy has become one of the more prominent boys basketball programs among Class A private schools. It’s region is also one of the toughest in the state, featuring Athens Academy, Athens Christian and Prince Avenue Christian in the next two years alignment by the GHSA. 

Sanders inherits a program accustomed to winning, stringing together 52-straight region victories under Cottrell and back-to-back league titles in 2016-17. Lakeview Academy made the second round of state five times from 2014-2020.

The Lions made their deepest playoff run in school history with a trip to the Final Four where they came up just short against Southwest Atlanta Christian in 2017. 

“This is a great situation with a very successful program,” Sanders said. 

Sanders said his son and daughter will also attend Lakeview Academy. 

The new Lions coach had long talks with their athletic director Deuce Roark about the position. 

“I think highly of Deuce,” Sanders said. “He’s somebody I’ve known for a long time, seeing him around in the basketball gyms.”

Lakeview Academy’s boys basketball program started to become a contender in 2005 when it hired Seth Vining, one year after he retired from a storied career at East Hall. 

Under Vining, the Lions won their first region title in 2008 and twice won more than 20 games in a single season.

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