Marietta’s girls basketball team got its next head coach Tuesday, when the school announced the hiring of Derrick DeWitt.
DeWitt spent the last seven seasons at Sequoyah, where he went 147-61 and led the Lady Chiefs to the playoffs in each of the last five seasons, including trips to the state quarterfinals and semifinals in 2015 and 16, respectively.
He will replace Mike Marchese.
“You feel supported at Sequoyah, but moving up to Class AAAAAAA and playing in such a competitive region, working with some different resources and trying my hand at some things I want to do professionally is what drew me to the job,” DeWitt said. “I believe what I’ve done at Sequoyah has prepared me to grow the same way you ask your players to go and prepare themselves. I just want to take the challenge and do my best to be successful like we were against Sequoyah.”
DeWitt got hi start in basketball as a player at Stetson University.
He played more than 100 games there and ranks second in school history in 3-pointers made, but he still had much to learn about the sport as a coach.
“One of the biggest things I learned was how to work with athletes,” he said. “Grades are important, and life after high school is important. Building relationships with players and students is important. You learn those social skills working with young players and working with the community to make sure our team feels loved and supported.”
At Marietta, DeWitt will enter one of the toughest regions in the state, but that will be nothing new for him.
At Sequoyah, he has faced off with perennial contenders Harrison and Creekview, which he said has prepared him to face the likes of North Cobb, McEachern and Hillgrove in Region 3AAAAAAA.
“I’m excited about doing the things I was able to accomplish at Sequoyah at Marietta,” he said. “Whether it’s a culture or certain skills, I want to bring that to Marietta. Sequoyah is kind of a blueprint for that. I know the coaches in the region and look forward to competing every night, but we know we’ll have to be at our best to have that success.”
DeWitt will finish out the school year at Sequoyah before beginning summer workouts in June.
He will be formally introduced at the school April 17, but he has already begun shaping what his team will look like.
“You want to be organized and have role identification,” he said. “Starting to put together a staff has been fun. The people I want to get in there are phenomenal. It’s going to be fun having three or four coaches taking on different roles. You really want to use their strengths to help get the girls to the next level.”
Although there is still much to be determined about how his first Marietta team will look, DeWitt already has his eyes on the final result.
The Lady Blue Devils have made the second round of the playoffs in each of the last two years after missing the postseason the previous two, and DeWitt said he plans on building on that.
“Marieta has been winning,” he said. “With the way I know they work and the way I like to lead, I know we’re going to be able to deliver. We’re going to compete in that region and compete for state championships.”