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Basketball: Bracco, Hedrick to lead East Forsyth hoops
Scott Bracco, left, will lead East Forsyth's boys basketball program, while Mike Hedrick will guide East Forsyth's girls basketball program. File photo

East Forsyth announced a pair of hires Wednesday, selecting Scott Bracco to lead the Broncos' boys basketball program and Mike Hedrick to head the school's girls basketball program. 

Bracco previously coached at Lambert for nine seasons, leading the Longhorns to the playoffs each year and compiling a 189-70 record. Hedrick spent four seasons at Patrick Henry (Va.), where he led the Patriots to a 71-21 mark and produced a state championship berth this past season.

“Both Coach Bracco and Coach Hedrick bring the necessary energy needed in creating a new program," East athletic director Matt Hollis said in a press release. "They are both proven winners, understanding that hard work is the foundation for championships; but more than that, their dynamic leadership styles made it clear that they were the perfect fit to build our Bronco basketball programs.” 

At Lambert, Bracco guided the Longhorns to five straight Sweet 16 appearances, highlighted by a 2015-16 team that finished 27-3 and captured its second straight region championship. The Longhorns finished 12-15 this season, falling in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs to Berkmar, which will play Saturday for a state championship.

Bracco also coached at Dunwoody and South Gwinnett prior to Lambert, winning back-to-back state championships with Dunwoody in 2005-06.

Hedrick also found postseason success in his last stop, reaching the playoffs in all four years at Patrick Henry and advancing to the semifinals in his last two seasons.

"In the four years, we went from the third-worst overall record in the state of Virginia to in the four years winning 70-something games, or whatever it was," Hedrick said. "Every year we were in the Elite Eight, and the last two the Final Four. Then we got to the state tournament and just couldn't quite finish the job."

Hedrick's Patriots finished the abbreviated 2020-21 season 9-2 and ultimately fell to Princess Anne in the Class 5A state championship game.

Hedrick already had a friendship with Buford coach Gene Durden, then heard about the East opening through former North Forsyth and current Dawson County coach Eric Herrick.

"The more I researched the job, the more I talked to Nathan Turner and Jeff Cheney and Matt Hollis, it became evident that they wanted to have excellent coaches and they wanted to build winning programs. I just fell in love with the administration, and I believe you win in life with people," Hedrick said. "Enjoying who you work with every day, that was a huge part of it. It was hard to leave BH, because we built a really great program there. 

"It was really hard to tell the girls that I was going, but the draw of building a program from scratch — my philosophy is 'be better' — and being able to institute that from the first day of school until, hopefully, decades from now when I retire, in the state of Georgia, close to Atlanta, with all the history that Forsyth County has and the great administration. You just put it all together and it's like, 'How could you say no?' It's a dream job. It really is."

Hedrick said he's given clinics on playing matchup zone and that his teams have traditionally been up-tempo, press-oriented squads. 

Still, Hedrick will shape the team's strategy to fit the attributes of the players, whom he has yet to meet.

East will draw from Forsyth Central and North Forsyth, a pair of established programs in the county. North has captured four straight region championships and reached the Elite Eight each of the past four seasons.

"I took the job understanding that I want whoever wants to be a part of it. If you want to stay at North, stay at North," Hedrick said. "If you want to be a part of East and do this, come on. That's going to be my approach, and we're going to coach up whoever we have."

Hedrick said it was especially difficult leaving Patrick Henry because of the relationships he developed there.

"The most proud thing that had happened was whenever my birthday happened a few weeks ago, all the players wrote me letters," Hedrick said. "Sometimes you don't know if they get it, and when they wrote me a letter and some of them expressing things they never would have said in person, and at that moment I knew they get it. We're doing something more than winning a game. I love winning. I love it. But winning doesn't drive happiness. It's the relationships."

Hedrick also spent time in the collegiate ranks, serving as an assistant coach to a pair of women's programs in Francis Marion (S.C.) and University of Charleston (W.Va.).

This story has been updated.