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Wesleyan moves quickly to tap Hodges as new boys hoops coach

While the Wesleyan School is currently off for spring break, the administration there has moved quickly to fill a coaching vacancy that arose almost as quickly.

Less than two weeks after boys basketball head coach Skip Matherly tendered his resignation, school officials have tapped Marist assistant coach Ryan Hodges to lead the Wolves beginning in 2012-13.

The 40-year-old Hodges has spent much of the last 10 years as an assistant coach at Marist -- first for GACA Hall of Fame coach Ron Bell and then for current War Eagles coach Greg McClaire.

The Wesleyan job will be his first head coaching job since his three-season tenure at Salem High School in Rockdale County in the late 1990s, which began when he was 24 years old.

Hodges says that experience, as well as his years on Marist's staff, has taught him a great deal and has well-prepared him for what lies ahead at Wesleyan.

"Coach Bell at Marist became a mentor to me," Hodges said. "I've been an assistant for a while (at Marist), and I think that's been very beneficial to me. I've worked under several different coaches who have used different styles that I can pick and choose from."

One of those coaches he learned from is Matherly, whom Hodges served as a community coach with at Wesleyan during the 2006-07 school year.

That familiarity was something Wesleyan athletics director Marc Khedouri said played a factor in moving so quickly to fill the opening created by Matherly's resignation.

"We had some internal interest, plus Ryan," Khedouri said. "So we never really opened (the search) up. (Hodges) knows exactly who we are as a school and has a great plan to take over and move (the program) forward. We felt like he was a great fit for our program."

Hodges says his familiarity with the Wesleyan program was also a factor that sparked his interest in the job.

"Having been there before, I'm familiar with the school," Hodges said. "I know quite a few families and coaches over there, and I think that helped me feel comfortable."

As for Matherly, his decision to step down brings to an end a successful six-year tenure that saw the Wolves post a 139-45 record and win two state championships -- the 2008 Class AA championship and the Class A title in 2010.

It wasn't an easy decision, and Matherly said it wasn't brought on by anything in particular.

"The honest truth is, it was time," said Matherly, who is exploring possibilities for his future, including possibly moving closer to his native Johnson City, Tenn., and perhaps staying in coaching. "Everything has a time. ... It was just time to go in a different direction, and maybe time for the program to go in a different direction.

"I feel very blessed, no question. We had a great run and I had the opportunity to coach some great boys. It's been a terrific opportunity form a coach's perspective."

Likewise, Khedouri praised the job Matherly did for the Wolves.

"I guess he just felt like the time was right (to leave)," Khedouri said. "We're very grateful for his work at Wesleyan."