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Monday June 24th, 2019 5:24AM

Vining returns to take over Vikings

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

RABBITTOWN — East Hall Athletic Director Adam Rich jumped back in time Friday hoping to rekindle the future.

In a press conference at the school, Rich announced that former East Hall basketball coach Seth Vining is returning to take back over the program he led from 1990 to 2004. In that time Vining guided the Vikings to seven semifinal appearances, twice finished as state runners-up, and won the 2001 Class 2A and the 2003 Class 3A state titles. He also led the East Hall girls to a pair of state titles in 1979 and 1980.

Vining will immediately assume the head coaching duties, pending Board of Education approval on Monday, while 2018-19 boys head coach Seth Thompson moves down to an assistant role.

"We had the opportunity to bring in Coach Vining to help keep moving the program forward," Rich said. "Coach Vining will also help in a mentoring capacity with our current coaches. We're very excited about having him come on board.

"There are no real expectations other than trying to get things rolling again. We want to create a family atmosphere here and we feel he can help us do that."

Vining left Valhalla at the end of the 2004 season to help open up a spot for then-assistant Joe Dix, who went on lead the Vikings to another state title in 2005 and to take over the boys program at Lakeview Academy. Vining led the Lions from 2005 to 2012 guiding them to the Class A playoffs each season. Now, he is hoping to resurrect the once-national caliber program that has not gotten past the second round of the playoffs since 2015.

"(East Hall Principal) Jeff Cooper reached out to me a few weeks ago to see if I would be interested in doing this," Vining said. "I've done this before and I still help out my son's youth team so I am still coaching in some respects. I still enjoy coaching and the teaching aspects of the game.

"But for me to do this someone on staff needed to be willing to help me and Coach Thompson agreed to do that. I'm looking forward to working with him and the kids."

The Vikings finished 13-15 this past season and lost in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs. They were 17-12 in 2018 but also fell in the opening round of the state playoffs. They went 21-8 in 2017 and lost in the second round of the playoffs.

Vining said he is ready for the challenge of helping bring the Vikings back to prominence.

"I saw the team play a few times (this past season) and they were close to beating a Final Four team in Dawson County and against a ranked team in GAC so I feel we are close," he said. "There's some work to do, for sure. But I believe the kids want to win and that with a few adjustments and some hard work we can compete on the state level again.

"Hopefully my expectations and visions are the same as the players. We'll get started as soon as things become official on Monday."

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