Tuesday April 23rd, 2024 11:11AM

Boys basketball: Griffin excited to take over Chestatee program

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — New Chestatee boys basketball coach Alan Griffin is happy to be back standing on the sidelines. 

For the last year, the former Gainesville girls and Pacelli boys head coach served as Sutton Shirley's assistant at Chestatee. Although Griffin said he was blessed to have his time on Shirley's staff, he's beyond happy to be back as a head coach. 

Griffin was hired to take over the boys program at Chestatee on Monday. He replaces Tanner Plemmons, who left to become an assistant coach at Lumpkin County under Chris Faulkner last month. 

"Blessed beyond measure and excited to lead a team again," he said. "Right now, I'm putting together my summer calendar, and that's exciting for me -- just getting to do the job again, the ins and outs of it, is what I missed. I'm just ready to get to work." 

Chestatee is not Griffin's first head coaching job. Griffin led the Pacelli High School boys basketball team in Columbus for eight seasons, taking them to the Elite 8 in 2016. He left Pacelli in 2016 to become athletic director at White County for two years. The AD job in Cleveland opened up an opportunity to become the Gainesville girls basketball coach, where he spent the next four seasons. He left Gainesville after the 2021-22 season. That's when he landed on Shirley's staff as an assistant at Chestatee, a year he says was a "blessing" for him. 

"Sutton reignited a passion in me," he said. "Being able to have someone who became a best friend, to somebody I get to talk basketball with every day is a blessing. Truth be told, the girls basketball team at Chestatee was a blessing -- just a really fun group to coach. But having that brotherhood of coaching has just been really fun. I'm excited to continue working with him every day."

Griffin takes the helm of a program that returns six rising seniors who contributed several minutes last season, including sharpshooting guard Joshua Bull and an athletic big man in Colton Wilbanks. The War Eagles finished with a 16-10 record and were a game shy of making the Class 4A tournament in a brutal Region 8-4A. 

"We've got six seniors coming back, and a lot of them contributed last year," he said. "Colton Wilbanks is one of the best players in the area. He's a true stretch four. He can shoot, jump and dribble. He's just a really good basketball player. We're returning Josh Bull, who played probably 28 minutes a game at point guard. Having that leadership at the guard position will be very crucial."

So what will a Griffin-coached boys basketball team look like? The outside shooting will be plentiful, and the transition game will be key.

"I am sure we're going to shoot the three ball," he said. "That's just been a part of everywhere I've gone. "We'll be organized in transition and score quickly; that's always been a staple of what I do. Defensively, we'll be multiple and do what works best for our kids."  

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