THE Jackson County Comprehensive High School boys’ basketball team is under new leadership for the 2013 off-season.
Mark DeFoor will take the mantle this winter as the Panthers’ head coach. DeFoor is replacing former JCCHS coach Britt Beaver, who resigned after a 4-21 season in 2012.
DeFoor was most recently an assistant coach at AAAAAA South Forsyth High School. He was also formerly an assistant coach at Gainesville High School.
DeFoor attended Georgia Southern, where he played football under Erk Russell and Paul Johnson. After transferring to Georgia State, he earned his bachelor’s degree in information systems. He also earned a master’s degree from Piedmont College in mathematics education. He will be teaching mathematics at JCCHS in the fall.
DeFoor said his transition to head coach has gone smoothly up to this point.
“Practice has been great,” he said. “The work ethic here has been tremendous. It’s kind of tough on the kids going through a coaching change. They don’t really know what to expect coming from us and vice versa. We are trying to feel them out and see what motivates them.”
The Panthers have been holding summer basketball practice Monday through Thursday since late May.
DeFoor said he was encouraged at the number of players that came have showed up for summer practice and camps.
“If we can get them to work hard everyday in practice, and want to keep coming back in the gym and practicing – that’s really the big thing,” DeFoor said. “They’ve worked really hard and done everything we’ve asked them to do. We have been impressed so far.”
The Panthers plan on attending several camps as well as playing approxiamately 25 games over the summer. DeFoor hopes seeing his team in action will help him and the rest of the coaching staff to evaluate talent and get to know the players as individuals.
“That will give us a better opportunity to really know them as players and also know them as young men,” he added. “We are going to get them away from school and into different environments, so its going to be a good opportunity for us to try and get some bonding time before school starts back.”
In addition to a new coaching staff, the JCCHS basketball teams will have a new gymnasium when the 2013 season rolls around. The gym construction is virtually completed and the parking lot is currently being paved. DeFoor estimates that the gym will be open for practice sometime next month.