Interview by Abernathy Cochran Real Estate Group intern Grace Slayton
Meet Benjie Wood! Benjie has coached basketball at several local high schools over the years and is currently the head boys basketball coach at the new Cherokee Bluff High School in Flowery Branch.
In its first season, the program is coming along and growing together, Coach Wood said.
“They’re great kids. We’re all growing together. Our biggest problems right now is inexperience at the varsity level, and coming from a bunch of different places. So, we’re trying to mesh everything together, and learn how to play together, and how to get through those tough times together. But I’m really pleased with the kids and where we’re at,” he said. “We’re going to play hard. They only have two choices, they either play as hard as they can or they can come sit beside me. We’re only going to worry about the controllables, and that’s our effort and attitude. We are going to play as hard as we can and we’re going to do it with a good attitude. If we see a kid who’s not, he can come and sit down. Particularly the first year, we’re going to make a lot of physical mistakes, but we’re going to do it going full speed.”
We want to thank Coach Wood for taking the time to answer some questions about his life, interests, and love for Hall County.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “When I was younger I had several teachers and coaches that inspired me.”
Q: How important is team chemistry to you, as a coach?
A: “It’s very important. I once heard a coach say, ‘You have to learn to lose together before you can win together.’ That’s always a process, especially with teenage boys, but I think we’re getting there.”
Q: What is something you would like to share about your players?
A: “We love all of these kids, and I’m just proud of them. I’m proud of the courage it took to come here, and to jump into this. With a first year school, you never know what you’re going to get. I’m really proud of them for doing that, and we’re coming in closer as a family. We’re going to give it everything we have, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “I love Longstreet Cafe. Everything is good there!”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Hall County?
A: “Nick Bennett or Randy Coleman.”
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “The Rush Hour series because I love to laugh.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Talk less, listen more.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Travel to Tahiti or take my wife to Paris.”
Q: What is your favorite music/three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I like all kinds of music, my playlist will switch from country to hip hop within a minute. My top three bands would have to be Prince, Luke Bryan and Janet Jackson.”
Q: What former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Hall County?
A: “The Dairy Mart. When I coached the Johnson girls basketball team, the girls and I would walk across the street for burgers and shakes.”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why this person? Where in Hall County would you have this lunch?
A: “Charles Barkley – he’s a basketball player and he’s hilarious. We would go to Longstreet Cafe.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Hall County?
A: “The location of Hall County; on Lake Lanier, 45 minutes from Athens and easy driving distance to the beach and mountains.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “Enjoying my family.”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I like to dance!”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.