High school basketball: East Hall girls coach decides to step down after 10-year run

Mar. 17—Add another high school basketball coaching move to what has been an extremely active week in Hall County.

On Friday, East Hall girls coach Justin Wheeler announced he is stepping down from his position after 10 seasons in charge of the girls' program.

During his time, the Lady Vikings made six playoff appearances. The pinnacle of Wheeler's success with East Hall's girls came was when it produced back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2015 and 2016.

In 2023, East Hall started 1-7 and put on a late-season charge to make the Class 4A state tournament, where it lost 58-56 to Northwest Whitfield in the first round.

"Coaching the girls program has been a great experience," Wheeler said. "The fans are incredible, girls were outstanding and always had good attitudes."

Even though Wheeler is stepping down, he isn't necessarily going far.

His plan is to continue at East Hall, serving as assistant boys coach for Joe Dix, which he did this past season.

Wheeler started his coaching career as a boys assistant with Peachtree Ridge, a year prior to coming to East Hall.

With the decision by Wheeler, East Hall athletics director Adam Rich said that the search would begin immediately to find his successor.

"Coach Wheeler was an amazing leader for our Lady Vikings basketball program," Rich said. "He has been able to mold these young ladies into excellent basketball players and he will be missed. Coach has decided for personal reasons to focus on working with our boys program as an assistant (coach) and we look forward to the work he puts into the boys."

Earlier this week, Gainesville High announced that Charlemagne Gibbons would lead after its boys program, starting in the summer, after Chuck Graham was relieved of his position at the end of the 2023 season.

At Lakeview Academy, legendary Hall County veteran coach Benjie Wood was announced as the new leader of its boys program Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday, Flowery Branch boys coach Jay Burney announced he was stepping down after four years with the program.