Reinhardt will begin the 2018-19 season with new coaches at the helm of both basketball teams.
Less than a week after announcing Justin Newton as its new men's coach, the university announced it would be searching for a new women’s coach after Lindsey Huffman accepted the same position at Young Harris College.
Huffman spent the last seven seasons with the Lady Eagles, compiling a record of 138-77 with three appearances in the NAIA Division II national tournament.
“You just get a feeling,” said Huffman, a Woodstock native and former Etowah High School standout. “When I visited (Young Harris) and met everyone, I felt like it was the place I definitely needed to be. I just felt really good about the whole situation.”
Huffman, who had no other head-coaching experience before arriving at Reinhardt, said it will be difficult to leave the place she got her start. She said her ideas on the game of basketball have changed greatly, but she has learned even more about how to grow a program off the court.
“I learned a ton,” Huffman said. “As a first-time head coach, it was a constant learning experience. Success on the court is wonderful, but the relationship with players, staff, the community and the school are just so important. It’s really the thing that drives me.”
Huffman will continue to have learning experiences as she takes over at Young Harris. With the jump to the NCAA Division II level and the Peach Belt Conference, Huffman said she is ready for more pressure.
“It’s going to be a transition,” Huffman said. “There will be different facilities, talent and expectations. Basketball is basketball, though. It’s about handling those differences.”
After finishing as the all-time leading scorer in Etowah history, Huffman went on to play one season at BYU before finishing her career at North Georgia.
She began her coaching career at North Georgia and had a stop at Roswell High School before returning to Cherokee County to coach at Reinhardt.
“It’s a hard transition,” she said. “Reinhardt and Cherokee County are my people. I spent a lot of years there and had a good career at Etowah and at Reinhardt. My family is close by, but any time there’s change, it’s an opportunity for growth. I had a great group in what was really my backyard, but it’s an opportunity knowing those people will still be in my corner.”
The state of the Young Harris program will be similar to Reinhardt's when Huffman first took the helm in Waleska.
In the four seasons prior to Huffman’s arrival, Reinhardt was 49-75. Young Harris has been even worse, going 35-74 in the last four years, but Huffman has a plan.
The Mountain Lions went 6-22 last season, with a 4-18 conference record. Huffman replaces veteran college coach Jim Davis, who led the Young Harris program for just one season.
“The goal for year one is just to get after it,” she said. “Establishing some differences and changes will be key. Basically, we need to get down to the basics. We want to keep it simple, work our tails off and focus on building the right habits going forward.”