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May 10, 2014

Bruins Hire Paul Hall

Western Branch High School in Chesapeake didn't have to go far to find its new Head Basketball Coach. They lured someone from one of their Southeastern District rivals.

Paul Hall, formerly an assistant and the Head J.V. Coach at Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, has been chosen to lead the Bruins' basketball program starting in 2014-15. For Hall, it is his second gig as a Head Coach and first in 13 years.

Hall, 43, was the Head Coach at Windsor from 1996-2001. After that, he became an assistant for varsity Girls Basketball in 2003-04 at Nansemond River, then moving over to the Boys Basketball program. While Hall was on Coach Ed Young's staff for 10 years, the Warriors compiled a record of 198-59.

"The main reason I stayed at Nansemond was I really enjoyed coaching with Ed. He gave me a lot of freedom, a lot of time to re-fine my skills and get back into the game because I hadn't been coaching for two years before I took the J.V. job," Hall told VirginiaPreps.com.

"That was the tough part, actually leaving Nansemond because it's like family. Ed is like a brother to me, so it was tough leaving and even tougher telling him. I'm not unhappy or dissatisfied with anything, but I wanted the opportunity to be a Head Coach again and get that feeling again. If not now, when?"

A 1988 graduate of Smithfield High School, Hall played College Football at the University of Richmond. From there, he got into coaching, but it wasn't first with basketball. He was the J.V. Football Coach at Windsor in 1995 when he began teaching, and later served as a varsity football assistant at Nansemond River.

During his time at Windsor, Hall was able to guide them to the playoffs. At Nansemond River, he was content teaching and being an assistant as well as J.V. Coach, though told himself when the timing was right he would consider applying for a Head Coach vacancy, only if appealing.

"I'm a loyal type guy and I had always told Coach Young that if a good opportunity presented itself I would at least give it a chance," Hall noted. "I saw Western Branch as a team that was up and coming. They've got a lot of support, their Bruin Crazies are very similar to what we've got at Nansemond River, and the demographics in the area are similar to Nansemond. It was a situation where I felt I could be successful there."

At Western Branch, Hall replaces Chris Fuhrmann, who left to become the Head Coach at Hampton Roads Academy. Last season, the Bruins finished 11-12 overall and fell to Grassfield, 53-50 in the quarterfinals of the Monitor-Merrimac Conference Tournament. However, they had consecutive winning seasons prior to that, going 18-9 overall in 2012-13 with a region playoff victory and 16-9 overall in 2011-12.

As for what Western Branch fans can expect, fundamentals will be stressed along with some of the same principles that have worked for Nansemond River.

"I'm going to stick to my same philosophy. My style is man-to-man, aggressive defense, dribble drive offense trying to score and get easy buckets," Hall stated.

"I always tell my kids we have to do three things in order to win. We have to make more free-throws than the other team, which means we're aggressive attacking the bucket. We have to have fewer turnovers than the other team; that means we're playing smart offensively. And we've got to get lay-ups; that means we're running. If you do those three things, you're going to win. If you don't do those three things, nine times out of ten you're not going to win the game."

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 on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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