GAINESVILLE — Tyler Sanders is excited to be Lakeview Academy's next boys basketball coach.
But leaving North Hall proved difficult. Sanders wore the green and white for 12 seasons, 7 at the helm of the program. Now, he'll exchange those colors for blue, orange and white.
"Change is always difficult," he said. "North Hall is a great place and has great community support -- probably as good as anybody. I've built relationships and have some great memories over the last 12 years that I will carry with me forever. It will always be a special place to me."
He steps in the shoes left by Todd Cottrell, who took the program to another level after Seth Vining left in 2013, but Sanders says he's ready to put his stamp on the program.
"Todd is obviously a great coach, and he's been successful everywhere he's been," Sanders said. "You know, his kids were always of high character, played the right way and have done things right. That's what we want to continue to build on and continue to get better at is producing quality young men that will become good fathers, good husbands, and just good young men."
Over the last seven seasons, the Lions have won 134 games, won three Region 8-A championships and reached the Class A-Private tournament five times, including the quarterfinals twice and on semifinal appearance.
"Lakeview has a rich tradition of winning," Sanders said. "I'm excited about Lakeview because it is a unique situation. The kids are on the same campus all day long together K-12. So, I think you can build the program by getting the elementary and middle school kids involved to develop one big program throughout the school. I think it just provides a great opportunity to help move the program forward."
The Lions will play in a new region this year, Region 6-A Private, which houses back-to-back state champs St. Francis as well as semifinalist Mt. Pisgah, quarterfinalist Pinecrest Academy and first-rounder Mt. Bethel.
Sanders said it most likely will be the toughest Class A-Private region in the state.
"The new region will be very competitive," Sanders said. "St. Francis is always a powerhouse, and Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Bethel are very good as well. But I think it is really going to be a place where we can be successful. I'm really excited to get started."