Dean Herrington embracing time with Paraclete football

Paraclete football head coach Dean Herrington, left, and brother and Hart football head coach Mike Herrington, right, share a moment as they pass each other at an 11-on-11 practice between the two schools at Hart on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Dean Herrington, along with his brothers and Hart coaches Mike and Rick, has been referred to by some as “coaching legends.”

Dean Herrington has mixed feelings about the phrase.

“That just means your old,” he said with a chuckle. “I remember when we were the hot-shot, young coaches. Then all the sudden we’re kind of getting up there, but it just means we’ve been successful.”

The former Hart coach and All-CIF quarterback is coming off his second football season with Paraclete of Lancaster, and even though he’s been coaching since 1984, he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

And with a CIF Division 3AA state title in 2016 and an appearance in the CIF Division 1A state regional finals this season, who can blame him?

“I’m having a great time up there,” Herrington said. “Administration is great and just a great school. Everyone is happy there. When I first got there, it was just, everybody smile on their face and it’s just a really neat place.”

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Although he’s content and busy with the Spirits, he still finds time to dedicate to the Indians. He was in attendance for three Hart games this season and Mike came to Paraclete games. Rick was even in the Spirits’ press box with a headset during playoffs.

“Obviously I’ve got my team now,” said Herrington, “but we always exchange film and through seven-on-seven we host each other. And 11-on-11 during the summer also. So still, I’ll always have Hart in my blood.”

At Paraclete, Herrington is part of a 600-student school and a 61-player football program, by his estimate.

Working with a small program hasn’t held him back, though. Last season’s success bumped Paraclete to Division 5 in the CIF-Southern Section this year, and he coached the team to a 13-2 season that ended in loss to Narbonne at the state level.

“We played a team that was way bigger and faster than us,” Herrington said. “We need to play perfect to be in the game and we had just a ton of breakdowns on defense and then we dropped passes early in the game, could’ve gone for touchdowns.”

He vividly remembers every moment of the loss but isn’t deterred. Losing is part of the football lifestyle that Herrington will always embrace.

He’s an avid golfer and spends plenty of time with his family – including a grandson who retrieves the tee after kickoff at Paraclete games – but football will always be a priority.

“I’ve had a couple days off and I’m ready to get back at it,” said Herrington. “It’s a crazy. I’ve coached forever. I’ll coach until they tell me I can’t anymore. It’s just fun. It beats working.”

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