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Johnson names new girls coach
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It seems that the Johnson girls’ basketball team has found its man.

Kory Bays, son of Brenau University basketball coach Gary Bays, has accepted the head coaching position, replacing Ron Smith who recently resigned to pursue a career in the ministry.

"When a coach takes a job, it’s more about the fit than anything," Kory Bays said. "I had a previous experience where I substitute taught at Johnson and it was a fit for me."

Bays has 18 years of coaching experience at both the high school and college level, assembling an overall record of 174-80.

He spent seven years as the boys coach at Warner University, leading his teams to appearances in the NAIA National Championship Tournament semifinals and quarterfinals in back-to-back seasons while twice being named Coach of the Year.

Bays spent the 2008-2009 season as an assistant coach under his father at Brenau.

"I believe in building and developing relationships," Bays said. "I like an up-and-down style of play where we press and get out in transition, but aside from that, we’re going to do things based on building relationships and developing leaders."

Bays will be the fourth coach in as many years for a Johnson girls’ program that has accumulated an 11-48 record over the past three seasons.

The lack of stability in the program didn’t go unnoticed by the administration and led to the hiring of Bays.

"Coach Bays has been a head coach before and knows to run a program and build a successful program," Johnson athletics director Stan Williams said. "We were tying to find stability with the program and he’s a seasoned coach looking for stability.

"That’s what this program needs to be successful again."

Before the Lady Knights three-year run where they amassed only 11 wins began, current North Hall boys’ coach Benjie Wood led it to back-to-back state semifinal appearances.

Bays sees Johnson’s past successes as something to build on, as well as the program’s past hardships.

"Challenges and opportunities to me go hand-in-hand," Bays said. "The first thing we’re going to talk about is picking ourselves up and dusting off.

"Our first order is pulling together as a team because I believe that’s what builds success."

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