Hall to lead Red Tornadoes' boys basketball program

Lavell Hall was approved by the Hickory Public Schools board of education Monday night to serve as the interim boys basketball coach at Hickory High School.

Hall takes over the program from Shawn Johnson, who was arrested on July 26 and charged with statutory rape, indecent liberties with a student and sex offense by a teacher. Johnson, who spent the past eight seasons coaching the Red Tornadoes, awaits a hearing on his charges Oct. 1.

"Coach Hall offers excellent coaching credentials along with wisdom and maturity built upon years of experience," said Hickory Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Hart. "His competence, combined with his genuine care and concern for young people, meets the needs of the program at Hickory High. I applaud his willingness to help the team during a challenging time of transition."

A standout basketball player at East Lincoln High School and Wingate College, Hall coached Lincolnton High School's boys hoops program to 216 victories, including four league titles, eight playoff appearances and a state runner-up finish in 1993. He guided the Wolves' program in two different spans from 1984-89 and again in 1991-92.

After his time in the prep ranks, Hall returned to the collegiate ranks to become an assistant coach at Appalachian State University. He served in that role from 1994 until 2003, helping the Mountaineers win four SoCon regular season titles, one SoCon tournament title and make an NCAA Div. I basketball tournament appearance (2000).

In 2003, Hall moved into an administrative role with Watauga High School as athletic director, helping the school earn an Exemplary School Award from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).

His most recent involvement in athletics came when he served as a part-time executive secretary for the Northwestern 3A/4A conference.

Hall said he is anxious for the chance to coach the Red Tornadoes.

"I am extremely excited regarding the opportunity to work with the young men of the Hickory High School basketball program," he said. "I look forward to the challenge of continuing the rich tradition of athletic excellence that has long been a part of Hickory High. I also look forward to working with the administration, faculty, parents and the Red Tornado fans to help make the 2013 season the most productive possible."

Hickory comes off of a 28-4 record in 2011 under Johnson with a 3A title game appearance. The Red Tornadoes fell 78-64 to Rocky Mountain in that championship contest to finish as state runners-up.

Hall starts with Hickory Public Schools on Tuesday.