Alex Resnak

Sequoyah has its next girls basketball coach after Chris Yarbrough was approved at a school board meeting earlier this week.

Yarbrough, who spent the last five years building Northview into a Class AAAAAA power, will replace Derrick DeWitt, who left for Marietta this offseason.

“It was really just a feeling,” Yarbrough said. “I wasn’t looking to leave or anything like that. We had a lot of success at Northview and I’ve been really happy with where the program was heading. The vision that (principal Bob) Van Alstyne had at Sequoyah just seemed like something I wanted to be a part of.”

During his time at Northview, Yarbrough racked up 101-48 record with trips to the state semifinals 2017 and 2018 and a run to the quarterfinals last season.

He will take over a program that has been in the postseason in each of the last six years but has won just one playoff game since its own trip to the semifinals in 2016.

Yarbrough said he wants to build on that foundation left by DeWitt, but the key to a deeper run could start in the region tournament.

“Winning in the playoffs is hard,” said Yarbrough, who led Northview to Region 7AAAAAA titles in each of the last three seasons. “The best thing to do sometimes is win your region first. That’s one thing we did at Northview. When you’re playing teams at home, it’s easier to win. We’ve had 10 home games in the last three years in the playoffs. That’s a good advantage.”

Loading up the non-region schedule will also be a focus for Yarbrough as he prepares to navigate one of the toughest regions in the state.

He will have less height to play with at Sequoyah, but he said the talent and culture that is already in place will help his gameplan adapt.

“We’ll have to figure it out quickly over the summer,” he said. “When you spend seven years with a program, you know what’s coming. I’ve seen Sequoyah quite a bit, but you have to see when you get in here. We’ll try to play fast, and we want to keep that tenacity of defense and deep bench they had with coach DeWitt.”

While Yarbrough was able to turn Northview into a contender, the transition took some time.

The Lady Titans went just 8-19 in Yarbrough’s first season. They finished second in the region the following season and lost just 15 games total over Yarbrough’s final three years.

Yarbrough said he thinks the ceiling is just as high at Sequoyah, but the pieces are already in place to compete in Year 1.

“That’s what was so appealing about Sequoyah. It isn’t a rebuild. They have a lot of talent and infrastructure in place. There’s a lot of talent on the way as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It took a few years to take Northview to where I wanted it, but that’s not the case with Sequoyah. We’re going to come in and try some things, and I think this team can make some runs in the state tournament.”

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