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Prep basketball: Flowery Branch names new boys coach
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FLOWERY BRANCH — Flowery Branch brought an end to its search for a boys basketball coach Sunday when Duke Mullis was tabbed to take over with the Falcons.

Mullis, who has a career record of 317-150, has coached at Brentwood High School, Middle Georgia College, Chattahoochee High School and most recently served as the head coach of West Forsyth last season.

After a season with the first-year Wolverines, he’ll be inheriting the reigning Region 7-AAA champs in 2008. The Falcons were 26-4 last season and advanced to the Class AAA quarterfinals.

The Falcons coaching position became available when Todd Cottrell vacated the post last month to become the head coach at Gainesville High.

For Mullis, the decision to come to Flowery Branch was "a no-brainer." He cited a variety of reasons, including the talent he’ll have to work with, family connections to the area and community involvement in athletics.

"Watching this team play last year, it resembled a well-oiled machine," Mullis said.

"The chemistry was excellent, and they were like a machine when playing together. I’m excited to be handed the keys to that machine."

The Falcons’ 2008 region title, clinched with an overtime win over East Hall in the tournament finals, was the first in the team’s history, and four starters are back from that squad including first-team Times All-Area selection Izaan Cross and second-team pick Josh Barrett.

Speaking to players in attendance Sunday, Mullis laid out his tentative summer plans for the team.

"Nobody cares what your record is in the summer," he said. "We want to play the best teams in Atlanta and if we win, great. But we’re going to play the best basketball teams out there and we’ll get better because of it."

On the court, Mullis said he’s traditionally preferred man-to-man defense and motion offense, but he’ll evaluate the talent he has before making decisions for next year’s Falcons team.

"Every year I look at what we have and we tweak things," he said. "I try not to be too stubborn in my philosophies."

The new coach, who begins his teaching duties at Flowery Branch today, is no stranger to Hall County.

He married his wife, Tammy, in Chestnut Mountain, and his in-laws still live in the area.

"It’s just a win-win all the way around. We got to be closer to family, and I didn’t have to sacrifice my professional life to do it. I actually landed in a great program," he added. "I like the facilities and the attitude of the community. There does seem to be a family-type atmosphere, and that’s very appealing to me.

"I also feel like this is somewhere I can stay long term.

"I feel like even though there’s talent here right now, I think long term Flowery Branch can always be competitive, and I want to be a part of that."

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