Emilee Dunton is returning to the ODAC.

This time as a head coach.

Dunton, a former star at Randolph College who has been the girls basketball coach at Liberty High School for the past three years, will be the new women’s head coach at Hollins University.

Dunton, 27, played college basketball at three levels for Longwood (Division I), Francis Marion (Division II) and Randolph (Division III).

She had a successful three-year stint at Liberty but admittedly had her sights set on the collegiate coaching ranks.

“It’s always been goal of mine ever since I was a little girl,” Dunton said. “I’ve enjoyed my time at Liberty. They always say when the opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare.

“For three years, I did my best to run the high school program emulating a college program. I definitely feel like I’m ready for this next step in my life. I’m excited to be back in the ODAC.”

Dunton replaces Jenny Logan, who left Hollins after three seasons to become the head coach at Eastern Mennonite University.

The Lynchburg native and former star at Brookville High has a challenge on her hands.

Hollins has a 15-88 overall record in the last four years and has won just two of the 64 ODAC games it has played during that span.

Dunton said the presence of new athletic director Myra Sims is a positive factor, and she cited the all-female school’s reputation for academics as a selling point in recruiting.

“Number one is making sure I can get the girls in I need,” Dunton said. “They have high academic standards. I can’t wait to start selling that mission and getting people to see everything that Hollins has to offer.

“They have graduate programs. It’s very diverse. Students come from 38 different states and 21 different countries. It can definitely become a respected [basketball] program in the ODAC. That’s my mission.

“With the athletic director and the brand new president, athletics is now becoming something that Hollins wants to be known for.”

Dunton’s father, Randy, is the boys head coach at Liberty High and a former men’s head coach at Liberty University.

She led Liberty to a 33-15 record in the past two years and was expecting to have a strong team in 2018-19 .

“Liberty is going to have a very successful year,” she said. “The girls have six seniors. They can go on and win that [Seminole] district title and add on to what we’ve built.”

Galax’s Brown commits to George Washington

Recent rainwater has not been the only thing flooding Galax.

Women’s basketball scholarship offers have been pouring in for the services of Essence Brown.

The Galax senior found one she couldn’t refuse, committing this weekend to George Washington University.

The 5-foot-10 Brown — who was the Region 1C player of the year and a first-team VHSL Class 1 selection — picked GW over offers from Radford, UNC-Asheville, Rhode Island and Appalachian State.

Brown averaged 15.9 points and 8.7 rebounds as a junior, leading Galax to a 22-5 record and a spot in the Class 1 state quarterfinals.

She played for the Southwest Virginia-based Lady Copperheads AAU program.

“I think they really like her ability to defend positions 1 through 4 out on the floor,” Galax coach Howard Mayo said. “And the fact that when she does have the ball in her hands, not only can she get her shot but she also can get other people shots.”

George Washington is coached by Jennifer Rizzotti, who was the national player of the year at Connecticut in 1996.

The Colonials have made the NCAA tournament in three of the last four seasons, finishing 19-14 with an 87-45 loss to Ohio State in the first round in March.

Mayo said GW’s campus is located a perfect distance from Galax, not too far, not too close.

“That was one of the things that factored in, the fact that it’s not right next door, but at the same time if she needs to get home, she can get home without having to take a plane trip,” he said.

“She’s also got an aunt who lives in Alexandria.”

Mayo expects Brown to play shooting guard and small forward in college.

“I think she’s going to be attacking from the wing, and she’s developed a decent outside shot,” the Galax coach said.

VHSL set to vote on Grayson County appeal

The VHSL Executive Committee will vote Wednesday on Grayson County High School’s final appeal to move down from Class 2 to Class 1 beginning in 2019.

Grayson County’s enrollment of 489 students based on the March 31 Average Daily Membership — which the VHSL uses to place schools in classifications — was over the cutoff of 475 that divides Classes 1 and 2.

Grayson County — the third-smallest school in Class 2 — appealed its placement in August, but the VHSL Alignment Committee rejected the school’s bid by a vote of 0-22-1.

Grayson was allowed a final appeal which will be heard Wednesday in Charlottesville.

Grayson superintendent Kelly Wilmore is not disputing the ADM figures. However, he is basing his case on what he calls a severe downward spike in the school system’s enrollment.

Wilmore said Grayson’s 10-day enrollment for the 2018-19 school year is 447.

“The numbers last year on the ADM included a senior group that had 30 more kids that came in on the ninth grade,” he said.

Wilmore said he has canvassed members of the Executive Committee to gauge Grayson County’s chances of a successful appeal.

“We’ve given them a sworn affidavit from our attorney showing grades K through 12, showing where our numbers are for the next 13 years,” he said. “We’re never coming back above 475. The numbers are just going to get worse.”


Robert Anderson has been the high school sports editor of The Roanoke Times since 2001.

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