Tina Hadley grew up playing basketball in Manatee County and spent the last decade coaching it there, too.
But she has decided it’s time to move a little further up north.
Hadley said Thursday she is stepping down as Lakewood Ranch High’s girls basketball coach, a role she has served since 2006. She has accepted a coaching position at McEachern High in Powder Springs, Georgia, which is located just outside of Atlanta.
Hadley said she and her husband, Carlton, had talked about moving to Atlanta once their youngest son had graduated high school. The pay is higher, too, Hadley said.
“It’s going to be really hard, because there have been so many kids and so many relationships,” she said. “When I was called and offered the job, I was happy on one end, and I immediately became sad on the other. This is a special program in my heart.”
Hadley led Lakewood Ranch to its first regional title and state championship game in 2016 one year after the program made the regional final for the first time.
The Mustangs also won their first district championship in 2013 and won another one last winter.
LaDazhia Williams, a four-year starter under Hadley at Lakewood Ranch, became one of the nation’s top prospects before signing with South Carolina, the defending national champion, last November.
“We built it from the bottom up,” Hadley said. “Finally got the girls to buy in, and they recognized it was going to take some hard work. They did exactly what I asked. I’m going to miss them as much as they’re going to miss me.”
Hadley graduated from Southeast High and help the Seminoles win a state title in 1985. Aside from 10 years living outside of Philadelphia, Hadley has spent most of her life living in Bradenton.
“This is my hometown,” said Hadley, adding she and her family plan on heading to Georgia around July 14. “but I’ll be able to make an adjustment.”