McARTHUR — When the Vinton County Lady Vikings take the court next season, they will do so under new leadership.
But they didn’t have to go very far to find a new voice.
Brett Jones, who has served as the assistant head coach at Vinton County over the past six years, was tabbed as the new girls head coach following the departure of Rod Bentley after seven years.
“I have spent the last six years here as an assistant so it was definitely a no brainer for me to apply for the position,” Jones said. “Myself and Coach Bentley have had tons of conversations over the last six years about my goals as a head coach and I am super excited to get that started here.”
Considering Jones was Bentley’s right hand man and was a part of turning Vinton County into the powerhouse it has become, don’t expect much to change at the core of the program.
“Ones of the things that I loved coaching with Rod is that he just told me to coach. I’m sure those that have watched us over the last several years noticed they’re probably wasn’t an assistant that talked more than me,” Jones said. “And if I didn’t do that, he would get on to me. So I’ve brought a lot of my coaching philosophies already into the program. It’s not like I have to come in and get the girls used to me. Sure that doesn’t mean everything is going to be exactly the same, but I would be a fool to come in and change everything.”
Even with leading scorers Morgan Bentley and Myriah Davis gone from last season, Jones intends to continue playing the same style that got the Vikings to the big dance.
But of course with his own little twists.
“In terms of playing style, I think those things change from year to year with the personnel that’s out on the floor. We did lose 5 seniors, and our 2 leading scorers so of course some roles are changing just like every year,” Jones said. “On offense we still want everyone to be a threat and for the ball to move with pace. Defensively, we are going to play hard and make everything they do tough on them.
“Work ethic is definitely the No. 1 thing. Coaches think they work hard until they meet (Rod Bentley). The guy knows how to work and that is something that from day one I learned. One of the other lessons I learned from Coach Bentley is to think a little outside the box sometimes. He was always willing to adjust and do things that other coaches might never even try.”
Although it is his first time being the head coach of a program, he’s coming into one of the best situations possible.
Four of the primary six players from last season’s state runner-up team are back in Cameron Zinn, Tegan Bartoe, Lacie Williams and Rylee Ousley.
Add in Ashley Bentley, Chloe Haybron, Lakin Williams and others who are expected to have elevated roles, Jones doesn’t feel any pressure about replacing the Division II Coach of the Year from last season.
If anything, he appreciates the challenge and is ready for his coaching tenure to get underway.
“I’m a very confident person and I have a great core of four seniors returning that understand how to play the game of basketball,” Jones said. “And then we have some younger players that have got a lot of games in this summer and are improving. We have expectations and goals and that to me is exciting to walk into a season with.
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity. I have a great staff that understands the game. I have a great group of players that not only have achieved on the court but also achieve in the classroom. I couldn’t have asked for a better group for my first season.”