For 40 years, Mike Herrington’s life has been centered around coaching football. On Friday afternoon, with an understated response as to why, Herrington announced his decision to retire from coaching.
“I’m going to be retiring from teaching in the spring and it’s time to move on,” Herrington said. “No special reason why, just time. Just happens to be the right time.”
Herrington took his first coaching job as an assistant coach at Hart in 1980. After being passed over for the head coach position eight years later, he took over as head coach at Bellflower High School. In 1989, he was hired back at Hart as the new head coach.
In all his years of coaching, Herrington amassed a 304-100-1 record and achieved his 300th win when the Indians beat Downey 19-13 on Sept. 27.
As an assistant coach, Herrington helped the Indians win the CIF Coastal Conference in 1983 and the CIF Northwestern Conference in 1986.
As head coach, he guided the team to a CIF Division 2 title in 1995 and from 1998-2001, Hart reigned as the CIF Division 3 champions. The Indians were the CIF Division 2 champions in 2003 and in 2013, they won the CIF Northern Division and were CIF State finalists.
He accomplished all of that while holding true to his values and Hart’s traditions.
“Just doing it the right way,” Herrington said. “Not doing things that are underhanded, never recruiting. That’s the problem with high school football. There’s so much recruiting. And try to make players do the right thing too, and development.”
In addition to the success when it came to CIF rings, Herrington coached a lineage of players who went on to have successful post-high school careers, particularly quarterbacks.
The Indians’ most recent quarterback, Zach Johnson is a University of California, Berkeley, commit. Before him was JT Shrout, who is currently at the University of Tennessee.
Former Hart quarterback Brady White just won an American Athletic Conference title with the University of Memphis and Kyle Boller also attended Cal and had an eight-year NFL career. Matt Moore played at Oregon State and played in the NFL from 2007-2017 before signing a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
Herrington said that it’s the relationships he had with his players, rather than their success, that he’ll remember.
“The relationships with the people and I’ve made lifelong friends with players and parents and coaches. That’s what I’ll remember,” he said. “And not only remember, still have. Those are the signs you can take for the rest of your life.”
He plans to finish out the school year as a teacher and athletic director for Hart and after that, he’d like to take a few vacations with his wife, who used to be a travel agent.
“I want to do some trips, go to some college football games back east,” Herrington said. “And do some other things and just kind of take it in and relax and maybe even hit a couple high school games here and there and go from there.”
He’ll stay in touch with the connections he’s made at Hart High School and maybe even join the coaching staff for some post-game Chi-Chi’s once in a while.
The position is currently open for applicants and Herrington said he is unsure if anyone from his coaching staff is interested in the job. As for himself, there might still be some coaching left to do.
“No more coaching for at least a few years,” he said. “Maybe I’ll get bored, have an itch later on … be a freshman assistant somewhere, to enjoy working with young people and teach them the game of football.”