Class AAAAAA blog: Northview, Sequoyah getting new girls basketball head coaches

Northview and Sequoyah, two of the most consistently strong Class AAAAAA girls basketball programs in the state over the past six years, will have new head coaches next season. 

Northview’s Chris Yarbrough was approved by the Cherokee County school board Thursday night as the next head coach at Sequoyah, where he will replace Derrick DeWitt, who announced earlier this month that he was taking the head coaching position at Marietta. 

Yarbrough leaves Northview after seven years at the school, the past five as the head coach, and compiled a record of 103-50 with three region championships and a runner-up finish. The Titans were semifinalists in 2017 and 2018 and advanced to the 2019 quarterfinals, where they lost to eventual runner-up Lovejoy. Northview finished the season 25-5 and ranked No. 4. 

“I’m really happy with the success we were able to achieve at Northview,” Yarbrough said. “The school wasn’t known for its basketball prowess, but the players really bought into the culture we were trying to build and were able to achieve some special things. To see how this program grew in just the short time, that was just amazing. It is a testament to the players that were willing to put in the work to allow us to compete at the highest levels in the state of Georgia. 

“Northview will always have a special place in my heart. You always want to leave a program better than you found it, and it’s not like the cupboard is bare here. We obviously were graduating six players, including four that are going to play college basketball, but there are still some really talented players returning and others that are on the way. This was a really difficult decision to leave this program, but whoever gets the job will have a chance at future success.” 

Yarbrough will be taking over a Sequoyah program that was 21-8 last season and reached the second round of the playoffs, where it lost to eventual champion Lanier. 

“I’m excited for the next challenge at Sequoyah,” he said. “The Hickory Flat community is something that I was impressed with during the interview process. Sequoyah’s principal, Bob Van Alstyne, has a great vision for the school and the entire community, and it was something that I wanted to be a part of. Coach DeWitt built a great program, and they have had a good amount of success in the past seven years. We are going to try and build on that success. There is great girls basketball in Cherokee County at all levels, which helps everyone. The county really has a commitment to youth development in basketball, and that makes a difference by the time the players get to high school.” 

DeWitt spent seven seasons at Sequoyah, compiling a record of 147-61. Sequoyah went 11-16 in DeWitt’s first season but won at least 19 games every year since, including 21-8 last season. Under DeWitt, Sequoyah reached the quarterfinals in 2015 and the semifinals in 2016. 

DeWitt will be replacing Mike Marchese, who spent the past three seasons as Marietta’s head coach. He also will be joining a Class AAAAAAA region that includes Cobb County powers McEachern, Hillgrove and North Cobb. McEachern won five state titles in six years from 2012 to 2017. 

“I’m excited about doing the things I was able to accomplish at Sequoyah at Marietta,” DeWitt told Alex Resnak of the Cherokee Tribune. “Whether it’s a culture or certain skills, I want to bring that to Marietta. Sequoyah is kind of a blueprint for that. I know the coaches in the region and look forward to competing every night, but we know we’ll have to be at our best to have that success.” 

*Soccer: The Class AAAAAA boys and girls soccer tournaments begin next Thursday, and the brackets are almost complete. These girls teams were listed on the GHSA website Thursday night as region champions and No. 1 seeds: Houston County (Region 1), Glynn Academy (2), Heritage-Conyers (3), Tucker (4), Harrison (6), Johns Creek (7) and Dacula (8). Boys region champions include Valdosta (Region 1), Richmond Hill (2), Lakeside-Evans (3), Tucker (4), Dalton (6), Pope (7) and Gainesville (8).

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