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Lunsford lands vacant GMC Prep coaching position

Lunsford lands vacant GMC Prep coaching position Keith Jump CNHI (Union Recorder) 4.20.10 MILLEDGEVILLE — At the Sibley-Cone Library Monday on the campus of GMC Prep, James Lunsford was named the new head coach of the Georgia Military Prep Bulldogs boys basketball team. “Today we welcome coach Lunsford into the GMC family with pride. He is the type of person to help lead our kids into the future. James Lunsford puts service above self, and that’s a trait we look for,” said Col. John Thornton. “The potential for the number of lives he will touch here at GMC is unlimited,” Thornton added. Lunsford comes to GMC after turning around a Twiggs County program over the last two years. Before that Lunsford was a mainstay on the court at Baldwin High School where he coached for 31 years and coached more than 150 players who signed to play college basketball and continue their education. Some of his former players have also become great coaches in their own right such as Ken Austin, James Hartry and Lenwood May. Lunsford has a career coaching record of 512-161 and has won six region championships, with a State Championship team in 1981. Many of Lunsford’s teams have made the playoffs, with him coaching them to the Elite 8 six times and the Final Four a total of four times. Also, Lunsford himself garnered Georgia Coach of the Year on six different occasions. In 1997 his team was featured on ESPN as one of the top high school programs, with acknowledgment going to his coaching efforts over the years. The feature was on “high schools making a difference,” and that is one reason GMC hired Lunsford to make a difference in the program’s turnaround. Lunsford’s wife is JoAnn Holmes Lunsford and they have two children, James Jr., who lives in north Georgia and Janelle, who also resides in Georgia. Janelle also had a stint in Indiana and New Jersey working for the NBA developmental league. Lunsford is also a Georgia Hall of Fame finalist and has been a coach of Georgia high school All-Star teams in the past. The legendary coach also has the respect of his peers, being a member of the AJC rankings advisory board and also a member of the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. Lunsford also brings the benefit of being able to call upon some of the brightest minds in basketball to GMC with him. Among the friends in coaching he has acquired over the years include John Thompson (formerly of Georgetown), John Chaney (Temple), and North Carolina Tar Heel legend Dean Smith. “I’m coming to a school that has great heritage, is a school of character with character programs. All the ingredients are here to make a championship team and that’s the element that I want to build on,” said Lunsford. “Here at GMC I want to add a basketball component to a program that does things the right way all the time.” Lunsford went on to thank Col. Thornton, Gen. Boylan, and A.D. Garry Couch for giving him the opportunity to take GMC Prep Bulldogs to the next level. “But I would be remiss if I did not thank Chris Barfield. Coach Barfield has brought this program up and taught these young men well and I want to thank him. As he leaves I am the beneficiary of some great talent thanks to him,” Lunsford said when thanking his predecessor. Also in attendance were GMC board chairman Randy New and vice chairman George Hogan, Col. Grant and other local media members. “We want to be a program of ‘quality,’ be competitive and most of all be winners in the not too distant future. We want to develop these kids and watch them grow into leaders both on and off the court,” Lunsford said. Georgia Military Prep has situated itself for success as Lunsford brings veteran leadership, coaching savvy, the sage experience any program longs for, and the winning attitude that can carry the Bulldogs into the upper echelon of basketball programs.