North hires assistants to lead programs

North Gwinnett's basketball programs got an infusion of youth on Thursday when young assistant coaches Zach Smith and Bryan Sellers were named as the Bulldogs' head coaches.

Sellers takes over the girls program for 53-year-old Tony Watkins, now the head boys coach at the new Lanier High that will open in August. Smith inherits the program from 60-year-old Len Garner, who told the Daily Post he was asked to resign from the post. The two veteran coaches combined for more than 60 years of coaching experience.

"(Zach and I) were at a coaching clinic this past weekend and talking about (our youth)," Sellers said. "Our combined age is less than Len's and close to Tony's. That's got to be some kind of record. But I think the youth that Zach and I have, there's a lot of energy there. And a lot of it's from Zach. We're both young coaches and it's going to be fun coaching with him."

Sellers, 31, grew up in Conyers and played two seasons of basketball at both Truett-McConnell and North Georgia. He has coached at Lumpkin County and Dawson County, but has been at North the past four years.

"I'm very excited, the tradition North Gwinnett has and the girls program has is outstanding," Sellers said. "The opportunity to be a part of that in any aspect is exciting and to be the head coach is even more exciting.

"Although this is my first head coaching job, I do feel pretty prepared after coaching under Tony and (previous coach) Kevin Jacobs. I learned a lot from both of them."

North is the first coaching job for Smith, 26, who was the freshman head coach his first season and then led the junior varsity the past two seasons. He is originally from Cherokee, where his father was a longtime coach and athletic director.

His wife Katie (formerly Almand) was a three-sport athlete at Parkview.

"I'm super excited and honored to have this job," Smith said. "It's an incredible program with lots of tradition. I'm just excited to take over the reigns."