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May 2, 2014

757 Coaching Changes Continue

The coaching changes continue throughout Tidewater. While the 2013-14 campaign officially ended less than two months ago, there have already been six schools in the Hampton Roads area to see a coaching vacancy open with three being filled so far.

Pat Dulin has stepped down as the Head Basketball Coach at Churchland High School in Portsmouth, while Tim Sparks is the new Head Basketball Coach at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach.

Dulin, who turned 36 on April 27th, elected to step down to spend more time with his two young children. His son, Brody, is five. His daughter, Kelsey, is three.

"It is the hardest decision I have ever made, but easily could be the most rewarding. I will miss being a coach every day, but I will never regret my decision. It is for my kids," Dulin told VirginiaPreps.com.

"A basketball coach is all I ever wanted to be in life . . . then I became a dad. There is only one thing better than being called Coach and that's being called Dad."

Thrust into a tough situation after previous Head Coach Art Zeno became ill and passed away in 2009, Dulin took over at Churchland and stabilized the program by guiding the Truckers to three trips to the Eastern Region Tournament while there.

In six seasons at Churchland, Dulin compiled a record of 59-81. That was highlighted by a 13-11 mark his first year and wins over Jack Baker's Maury squad and Darren Sanderlin's Booker T. Washington team in consecutive years in the Eastern District Tournament to secure region playoff berths.

Before coaching at Churchland, Dulin spent two seasons as the Head Coach at Alliance Christian. As a player, Dulin scored over 1000 points in three seasons at Peninsula Catholic and spent his senior year at Churchland, concluding his career with 1343 points. He played one year at Shenandoah University for Dave Dutton, breaking his ankle twice and eventually ending his playing career to focus on coaching.

Dulin noted that he will continue to teach Health & Physical Education and Churchland while remaining an active part of the community there as well.

For Sparks, it's his first crack at being a Head Coach. He spent the last two seasons as a full-time assistant coach at Virginia Wesleyan College under Head Coach Dave Macedo. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at Louisburg Junior College in North Carolina and a grad assistant at Castleton State College in Vermont.

"I am excited to put in the work and dedication there, and help to bring about a positive cultural change with the boys basketball program in the school," noted Sparks, who received his bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Norfolk State University in 2007 and his Masters in Education at Castleton State in 2010.

At Princess Anne, Sparks replaces Derrick Canady, who went 13-33 in two seasons at the helm. The Cavaliers were 7-16 this past season and 2-10 in conference play.

Sparks has coached at the High School ranks before as an assistant in Virginia Beach at both Green Run and Salem.

The Cavaliers haven't had a winning record or been to the region playoffs since 2002-03. That year, they finished 15-11 overall and won the Beach District Tournament under Craig Doreen.

Churchland, Warwick and Western Branch are now the vacant jobs in the '757' area code. Grassfield recently filled its position with Tony Collins replacing Andy Schwerzler, while Taft Hickman is taking over for Steve Loder at Kempsville.

Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.


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