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Brookwood girls basketball hires former LaGrange College coach Isenhour

Mark Isenhour

Mark Isenhour

Brookwood graduates now fill both head basketball coaching positions at the high school.

Mark Isenhour, a 2000 Brookwood grad, has been named the Broncos’ new girls head coach, joining his former teammate and good friend Daniel Bowles, a 1998 Brookwood grad. The two coaches also played together for two seasons at LaGrange College.

The 31-year-old Isenhour, previously the head women’s basketball coach at LaGrange College, is excited to work again with Bowles, as well as get back to his alma mater.

“It means quite a bit to be back,” Isenhour said. “Not too many people get a chance to coach at the same place they’ve played. I’m one of the few that’s already been able to do that at my alma mater, LaGrange. To be able to come back to Brookwood with hopes of doing the same thing we did at LaGrange, building from a place where it isn’t where they want to go to one of the elite programs in the south region.

“(Outgoing Brookwood girls coach) Coach (Scott) Terry and Coach (Debbie) Dees before him have done a good job of building Brookwood basketball into a proud program. I think this is a really good time to take over. Things may be a little more lean that what Brookwood is used to, so this may be a good time to stir up the culture and get back to what made us so special.”

Terry had been the Broncos’ head girls coach for the past 13 seasons — the second-longest tenure among Gwinnett girls coaches — until his recent decision to retire from coaching. Brookwood made state eight of the previous nine seasons and won its first girls basketball region title in 2011, but major graduation losses led to a rough 2013-14 season.

Isenhour, whose older brother Michael played at Shiloh and Georgia Tech, is charged with turning the program back in the right direction, something he has experience with at the college level. After his playing career at LaGrange ended, he joined the men’s program at his alma mater as an assistant and then spent one season as an assistant at Embry-Riddle (Fla.).

He then became the LaGrange College women’s coach at just 24, guiding the team to a 98-57 record from the 2007-08 to the 2012-13 seasons. His 2010-11 team won a school-record 20 games and led NCAA Division III in scoring at 83.4 per game.

He left coaching briefly to work in business, but decided during this past basketball season that he wanted to coach again — for the first time at the high school level. That, and some matchmaking work by Bowles, led him to Brookwood.

“The downside of being at the college level is really and truly you’re handcuffed,” Isenhour said. “You’ve got about a four- to five-month season where you’re around your players every day to help improve them. The nature of the NCAA rules is so restricting. For a good seven months of the season, you’re so limited in being able to develop them on the court, in the classroom and in the community. That is something I’m really looking forward to at the high school level. Being able to work with them in the summer and showing them what year-round improvement really looks like.”

THE ISENHOUR FILE

Name: Mark Isenhour

New position: Head girls basketball coach at Brookwood

Former position: Head women’s basketball coach at LaGrange College

Age: 31

Career record: 98-57 (at LaGrange College)

Education: Graduated Brookwood High School in 2000; has undergraduate degree in psychology from LaGrange College and a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State

Background: Was the head women’s basketball coach at LaGrange College from 2007-2013, sporting a 98-57 record; led team to a school-record 20 wins in 2010-11, when it led NCAA Division III in scoring at 83.4 per game; four-year letter winner in basketball at LaGrange, starting every game of his career; also was an assistant coach at LaGrange from 2004-06 and an assistant at Embry-Riddle (Fla.) for the 2006-07 season; older brother Michael Isenhour played basketball at Georgia Tech

Family: Wife Cheri; daughters Ashlyn, 7, and Alexis, 5