Jason Pleasant is not a native of Hall County, but it has figuratively adopted him over the years.
Despite being a native of California, Pleasant has been a fixture in high school sports since moving to northeast Georgia in 2007.
That will continue as Pleasant was named Monday the head boys basketball coach at Riverside Military Academy, along with serving as assistant football coach for the Eagles.
This is a return move for Pleasant, who spent the 2020-2021 school year as an assistant football and basketball coach at Cherokee Bluff High.
For Pleasant, it was an easy decision to come back to the private military school in Gainesville.
“(I) see the potential in Riverside,” Pleasant said. “Riverside has players coming from all the world. It can be the IMG of Georgia.”
Previously, the 40-year-old Pleasant spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Eagles football program, which is led by fellow California native Nick Garrett. Riverside Military didn’t hold a 2020 football season, due to the school’s coronavirus precautions.
Now, Pleasant is looking to rebuild a program almost from scratch. He is up to the task.
“We are hoping this year to bring everything back (athletically),” he said. “I was going to be involved with kids, regardless. I love to be around kids.”
Pleasant arrived in Northeast Georgia 14 years ago, working with youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Lanier.
He then was the assistant boys basketball coach at Gainesville High and Cherokee Bluff High.
This is where he learned some of the nuances of the game, working directly under Benjie Wood, who is now head coach at Buford High.
“Seeing how Benjie (Wood) approached his day-to-day,” Pleasant said of the new Buford High coach. “Always putting the kids first.”
He worked with Gainesville High boys basketball coach Chuck Graham at the Boys and Girls Club.
“He’s never rattled,” Pleasant said. “He slows down his teaching and reaches kids off the court. I admired that.”
Pleasant wants to take a little from both coaches and morph it into his philosophy. His desire is to help young people make better decisions on the court that will transition to those off the court.
Pleasant wants to make Riverside Military a school base, instead of a place to go.