Prep notebook: Former Signal Mountain basketball assistant to lead Lookout Valley boys

Contributed photo / Michael Lane will take over the varsity boys' basketball program at Lookout Valley after leaving his mark as an assistant coach at Signal Mountain. Lane will also be the offensive coordinator for the Yellow Jackets in football.

For the past decade, Michael Lane has helped make a difference in the culture and success of Signal Mountain athletics.

Now the energetic coach will have a chance to broaden his impact as a part of the Lookout Valley community.

Lane's first high school head coaching position will be to lead the Yellow Jackets boys' basketball program, and he will also serve as the offensive coordinator for the football team.

"I am excited for the challenge," the 35-year-old Lane said. "My family and I live in the community and wanted to be a part of what is building here in the Valley. We need to make sure we are being good students and taking care of our responsibilities off the court. We will create a culture here that will make them quality young men in every walk of life."

Lane was a longtime assistant for the Signal Mountain girls' basketball team under Kendra Bell.

He helped the Lady Eagles win five straight district championships from 2015-19, and this past season he helped them set a program record with 26 wins while adding another district title and a Class 3A sectional appearance.

The Lookout Valley boys have just three wins over the past three seasons since posting 20 victories during the 2019-20 schedule. Lane wants the Yellow Jackets to bring an up-tempo pace of play to the court and pride themselves on defense.

In football, he will be calling plays for a program that scored more than 200 points for just the second time in the past decade last fall, when the Yellow Jackets won five games.

"I have been trying to hire Mike to come coach with me for the last four years," said Josh Payne, the head coach for Lookout Valley's football and baseball programs. "His strongest quality is his ability to build relationships with the kids. He is very energetic and great at building a strong culture and vibe around the kids he works with. We are really excited to have him down here coaching football and basketball."

  photo  Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / Former Cleveland girls' basketball coach Tony Williams has taken over the program at Ooltewah.

Leader for Lady Owls

After coaching Cleveland's girls to 27 wins and a Class 4A sectional appearance this past season, Tony Williams will take the reins for the Ooltewah Lady Owls.

Williams won 61% of his games while leading the Lady Blue Raiders for the past seven seasons. Among their biggest accomplishments were never having a team GPA below 3.5 and sending 22 student-athletes to college basketball programs. Cleveland's sectional appearance this year was the program's first in 13 seasons.

Two seasons ago, the Lady Owls won 15 games and made their first region tournament appearance since 2003.

O'Hara stepping up

Aristotle O'Hara is right at home as he takes on his first head coaching position leading the Arts & Sciences girls' basketball program.

The CSAS alumnus spent the past four seasons working with the Patriots' middle school and high school boys' basketball programs. O'Hara got his start coaching under Tennessee basketball legend Jon Higgins at Knoxville Central in 2016.

"My goal is to bring energy and excitement back," O'Hara said. "When I was in high school, this program went to the state tournament (in 2010). I hope to help lead them back that far. I am blessed for this great opportunity at a school I love."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at