Hall County is where Zac Swansey got his start during a remarkable basketball playing career.
A decade later, it’s also where he’ll get his first chance as a head coach. After an all-state high school career and two years as a player at the University of Georgia, the 26-year-old Swansey was named West Hall’s new boys basketball coach March 27. Swansey was announced as the Spartans’ new coach Wednesday in a press release from Hall County director of community relations and athletics Gordon Higgins.
Swansey takes over for Warren Sellers, who stepped down after 14 years at West Hall following the 2015 season. Swansey said he was ready to leap at a head coaching opportunity in Hall County but didn’t know it would come so early.
Swansey was on the bench as an assistant coach under Jeff Steele with the Johnson boys basketball team each of the past two seasons. The Knights won the Region 8-AAAA title both seasons and made their first-ever appearance in the state quarterfinals this past season.
Swansey wants to make West Hall a contender from Day 1. The Spartans finished 3-23 last season.
“West Hall plays in a good region for basketball, but one where I feel we can be successful,” Swansey said.
Even though he spent most of his playing career away from the area, Swansey never forgot about the support fans in Hall County have for high school basketball. Swansey played his first two seasons of high school basketball at Flowery Branch High, scoring what still stands as a school-record 1,400 points as a freshman and sophomore.
Many fans remember his Lanierland semifinal game as a sophomore against Johnson in 2005, when he scored 48 points, seven less than Marquise Wright of Johnson.
Swansey, a point guard, played his final two years of high school basketball at Dunwoody High, helping the Wildcats to a Class AAA state title as a junior and a return trip to Macon for the semifinals as a senior. He was an all-state pick his senior year of high school and finished his career with a school-record 2,368 points at Dunwoody.
As a freshman at Georgia, Swansey’s shining moment was nailing the game-winning 3-pointer in the SEC tournament game against Kentucky in 2008. The Bulldogs went on to win their first conference title since 1983. Swansey scored a season-high 12 points in a game twice during that season.
Swansey said he gained an abundance of information from Steele about what it takes to be successful leading a program. Now he wants to impart his love of the game to the next generation.
“I’ve been a student of the game for a long time,” said Swansey. “I want to help the kids here at West Hall achieve their dreams.”