Posted: Thursday, March 21st 2013 at 11:50pm
Wood takes head boys basketball job at FBHS
By Morgan Lee Editor
Benjie Wood, left, talks to members of his North Hall basketball team this season, including Zach Tibbs and Adam Kelly during a game played during the 2012-13 season.
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Shannon Benton wanted a candidate that would bring both credibility and a desire to build a program from the bottom up to the Flowery Branch boys basketball team.
He didn’t have to look far to find a coach known for his ability to excel in both aspects.
Benton announced on Thursday that North Hall’s Benjie Wood has accepted the position with Flowery Branch, pending school board approval.
Wood is coming off his second state semifinal appearance in seven seasons with the Trojans. The coach also led the Johnson girls to two state “Final Four” berths in 2005 and ’06.
“He’s going to be able to come in and get the kids to listen to him immediately because of what he’s done right here in Hall County; they’ve seen it firsthand,” Benton said. “He’s not going to have to sell himself. I think it’s going to create a lot of excitement for our kids and our community to support the program.”
Wood takes over from Duke Mullis, who announced his resignation on Monday.
According to Wood, the decision was not easy but was in the best interests of his family.
“It all comes down to family,” Wood said. “I live just a few minutes from Flowery Branch; I’ve got small kids, and as they get involved in school I want to be closer to them.
“It’s going to be tough to leave North Hall. I’ve made some great relationships and memories there. It will be very bittersweet. But those kids are resilient, and the program is in great shape. They’ll be fine.”
Wood’s 2012-13 Trojans team, which featured four senior standouts, posted a program-best record of 28-4, including a Lanierland championship and finishing as Region 7-AAA runner-up. He also guided North Hall to the Class AAA semifinals in 2010 -- for the first time in school history -- and reached the GHSA playoffs in five of seven seasons after the Trojans clinched state berths in just four of the previous 15 campaigns.
Flowery Branch, meanwhile, went 9-17 this season and has not made the GHSA playoffs since 2009.
“We’re going to have to work hard, but I know he’ll have his hands on the youth and feeder programs here -- that’s imperative for us,” Benton said. “We have to create a knowledge and skill base for the kids so that when they get to the high school level they’re ready to compete.”
Wood says he’s ready to take on the challenge and bring his brand of basketball and coaching to the Falcons’ community.
“Our theme has always been character, chemistry and competency equals success on the court, in the classroom and in the community,” Wood said. “We’re excited about this opportunity, and we want to be part of the Flowery Branch community.”
North Hall, meanwhile, will immediately begin the search for Wood’s replacement. There are currently three basketball coaching vacancies in Hall County -- as the Lakeview Academy boys and West Hall girls must also replace retiring legends in Seth Vining and Lynn Jarrett, respectively.
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