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Longtime hoops coach Vining stepping down at season's end
Seth Vining
Seth Vining

Seth Vining's coaching career by the numbers
730-291: Career coaching record, 3rd-most high school wins in Georgia history
4: State championships, with East Hall girls 1979-80, East Hall boys 2001, 2003
25: State tournament teams coached
10: State final four berths
7: Trips to state championship game
2006: Inducted into the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame

Seth Vining, the dean of Hall County coaches, winner of 730 games, 15 Lanierland championships, 11 region titles and four state championships, is stepping down as the coach of the Lakeview Academy boys at the end of the season.

Vining said he’d been mulling the decision since last spring, and Lakeview, where he has coached for nine seasons, made the official announcement Tuesday.

“When I retired from the public school system, I always knew there would come a time when I wouldn’t coach anymore,” Vining said. “It’s something you always think about. I know this is the right time for me.

“I don’t know what comes next. It’s been 40 years since I had a summer off, so I’m looking forward to that. After that, I don’t know other than just trying to be a good husband, dad and granddad.”

Vining said he informed Lakeview athletic director Deuce Roark of his decision “a couple of weeks ago,” and announced it to his team prior to the Lions’ game against Johnson last week.

“He’s been at it for 38, 39 years, I think he was comfortable with (his decision) and he was ready,” Roark said. “One of the biggest things we’ll miss about having him on staff is how he really commits to Lakeview as a whole and supports the students. Whether it’s athletics, fine arts or even some other academic area, he really buys into the whole thing.”

Vining has been a mainstay on Hall County sidelines since he broke into coaching at East Hall in the 1970s. He began his career as the school’s varsity baseball coach and a basketball assistant before he took over the Lady Vikings varsity basketball program in 1976.

His first team went 4-19, the last losing record he had with the Lady Vikings, whom he eventually coached to state championships in 1979 and 1980.

After a three-year stint at Gainesville College in the 1980s, Vining returned to high school and coached at Johnson before going back to East Hall as the boys coach in 1991.

That run with the Vikings lasted until 2004 and included two more state titles in 2001 and 2003.

All told, he’s coached 25 teams to the state tournament, 10 to the final four and seven to the title game. While at Lakeview, he’s won region Coach of the Year honors in 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2012. He was also named the GACA Region Coach of the Year in 2008 and was inducted into the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Including his 40 wins at Gainesville College, his career record stands at 730-291, including Tuesday’s win over North Hall. He has the third-most high school wins among active coaches in Georgia.

As for who will follow in Vining’s footsteps, Roark said the Lions will take a slow approach before buckling down in the
coming weeks.

“That’s a tall task,” Roark said of replacing Vining. “That’s going to be something where I don’t think we replace him, we just find the best candidate who fits with our program.”


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