West Hall High athletic director Scott Justus has a tough job ahead of him as he begins to look for a replacement for longtime girls basketball coach Lynn Jarrett.
Jarrett, an East Hall High grad and of both the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, who coached the Lady Spartans for the past seven seasons as part of a 33-year coaching career spanning high school and college, announced her retirement last Thursday.
“You can’t really replace someone like Lynn Jarrett,” Justus said. “She’s a Hall of Famer, dedicated to girls basketball — a leader on and off the court.
“We’re going to miss her, we just hope we can find somebody to replace her.”
To that end, Justus said the school has opened the job up for applicants. While he said he does have something of a timetable in mind by which point he’d like to have a new head coach in, he didn’t want to make it public at this time.
“Hopefully the decision is sooner than later to be able to start building a summer program,” he said. “I want to hire someone who can set goals and not be deterred from them or step down from anyone.
“I want to be competitive. The goal is to win, be as successful as we can and make the state playoffs.”
It won’t be an easy task for the next coach. Region 7-AAA includes last seasons state runners-up, Dawson County, as well as one of the state’s most successful programs in Buford, which won three consecutive state titles from 2009-2011.
The Lady Spartans had a few bright spots last season, including a season sweep of North Hall, but they had trouble with the top tier teams in the region and finished the year 9-17 overall, 3-11 in the region.
“I think we can be competitive in our region,” Justus said. “We have a lot of young girls talent, and we’ve been successful, even though it’s a tough region.”
For Jarrett, her time at West Hall was the final spot of a seven-stop career, and her first and only high school head coaching job after more than 20 years coaching at the college level, including at Armstrong Atlantic State University and the University of North Georgia. She was also an assistant at North Gwinnett for six seasons before taking over at West Hall.
“Two places will always stand out, West Hall and North Georgia,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be, and most of all the young ladies I had a chance to work with.”
Jarrett added that she won’t be content to sit around now that she’s retired.
“The last 33, its not really been work, its been my passion,” she said. “I don’t know what I’ll do yet, but I hope to keep working with young people.
“I won’t be sitting home, I’m not that kind of person.”
BIG RED GOLFERS PLAYING IN BIG TOURNEY: The Gainesville boys golf team is returning to the annual Georgia-South Carolina Challenge to defend its title.
This year’s tournament is being played today and Saturday at Willow Creek Country Club in Greer, S.C., and will feature eight of the best high school golf teams from Georgia and eight of South Carolina’s elite, along with a number of the top individual golfers.
“It’s probably one of the best high school fields in the southeast,” said Gainesville coach Bryson Worley, who also mentioned that it draws the interest of college coaches because the amount of Division I talent present.
The Red Elephants first played in the event, which Worley helped put together in 2003, but didn’t get their first team win until last season, the same year in which they won their sixth state title.
This season Gainesville looks to defend its title with a team of Pep Brown, Spencer Ralston, Lawson King, Jackson Bishop and Nathan Williams. Reeves Bell and Grant Lasseter are also playing as individuals.
There is also an individual champion for the event as well as a state champion. Georgia won by two strokes in last year’s tournament.
LOCAL TENNIS TEAMS UNDEFEATED: The Riverside boys and Gainesville girls tennis teams are both holding on to unblemished records this season.
The Eagles (8-0, 5-0 Region 8-AA), who have won seven of their first eight matches 5-0, return to action Tuesday against Rabun County in Gainesville. The Lady Red Elephants (5-0 in Region 8-AAAAA) play Clarke Central on Tuesday in Athens.