Lake Gibson didn’t wait long nor go far to find its new boys basketball coach as the Braves named Polk State assistant coach and former Southeastern player Jordan Talley as the new head coach.
Lake Gibson athletic director Gabe Gibbs said he talked with 10 applicants over the phone and interviewed five with Talley standing out.
“He came with good recommendations from every coach we talked to,” Gibbs said. “Once we got him here, he lived up to those recommendations.”
Talley, 25, played college basketball with the Fire and is the second former Southeastern player to get a head coaching job in the county. Dwayne Johnson took over at Lakeland last year and the two are close friends. Talley is the godfather of Johnson’s children. This is is first head coaching job.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I really don’t know where to start. I’m just honored and thankful. Opportunities like this don’t come often.”
Talley graduated from Southeastern in 2015 and said that after college and he was deciding between going overseas to play or going into coaching.
It turned out to be an easy decision.
“I love kids, and I love helping people so coaching was the best option to do that and stay in the game,” Talley said.
Talley’s first position was as a volunteer assistant at Columbia High School where he coached under Steve Faulkner, whom he called his mentor.
“That’s kind of when the passion started,” he said.
Talley takes over for Deandre Brown, who coached for the Braves for four seasons. The Braves were 3-18 in the season before Brown became head coach and went 17-13 last season and were district runners-up.
Talley met some of his players on Monday night at Carver Rec in Bartow where the Braves were playing in the John Sinclair Summer League. There are two weeks remaining in the league and he plans on letting the current assistant coaches continue to coach the team through the rest of summer league season.
After coaching at Columbia, Talley was an assistant coach at Santa Fe Community College and most recently at Polk State where he was in charge of recruiting under head coach Brandon Giles.
“I just realized I really, really, really was into high school basketball and wanted to affect kids, have high character guys who really love the game and want to work at it,” Talley said. “I felt like high school was the route. I appreciate all the coaches in college who gave me a chance. I just felt like this was the route for me.”
Talley said his recruiting work allowed him to be familiar with Polk County high school basketball and knows many of the current coaches.
Talley was born in Fort Lauderdale and grew up in Lake City. He graduated from Fort White High School where he graduated in 2011. as a 6-foot-4 senior guard, he averaged 21.9 points. He then played four years at Southeastern and graduated in with a degree in sports management with a minor in business.
Talley will be an on-campus coach and will teach social studies.