Rick Herrington named head football coach at Hart

Brothers Mike Herrington, center, Dean Herrington, left, and Rick Herrington, right, stand on the Hart football field on July 5, 2017 during an 11-on-11 practice against Paraclete. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

When Mike Herrington retired as head coach of Hart varsity football on Dec. 13, Rick Herrington thought he might be finished with the Indians as well.

“But then I started thinking a little more about it and I’ve never been a head varsity coach because I was with either Mike or Dean (Herrington), so I thought, maybe this is something I want to try.”

When Herrington told the other Hart coaches about the idea, he had instant support. On Thursday, Hart High School announced the hiring of Herrington as the new varsity football coach in a press release.

Herrington has been coaching for 42 years, many of those years at Hart in various positions. Most recently he was the defensive coordinator for his brother and former head coach Mike. 

Although Herrington is defensive-minded, he doesn’t see the playing style of the Indians changing any time soon.

“Even though I’ve called the defense, I try to stay involved with every part of the game,” he said. “There would be times where Mike would ask me suggestions on offense or defense.”

Dave Padilla, who previously coached the defensive line and managed the strength and conditioning program, will be the new defensive coordinator for the Indians. Padilla was also the defensive coordinator for Chaminade.

Herrington’s resume at Hart includes six appearances in a CIF-SS championship game 15 Foothill League titles. He has also been teaching special education at the school since 1982. He wants to keep the Indians’ competitive and winning traditions alive, while introducing some new elements to the program.

“I don’t expect anything less from what Mike did and how he ran things and I’m sure there’s going to be a few things that will be different,” he said. “We’re brothers but we’re not identical twins so we don’t think exactly alike, but we can almost read each other’s minds with what we’re thinking.”

Herrington said that increasing participation numbers in football at Hart will be a priority. Rosters are shrinking year after year, and he thinks increasing participation at lower levels could resolve that.

The team has already been spending time in the weight room, but on-field practices for the Indians will begin in March. With the same support that encouraged him to take the head coach position in the first place, Herrington will begin his tenure.

“I’ve got a couple more years until I can retire, so I can do this and hopefully until I retire and maybe even after retirement keep going,” he said. “It’s going to be something new. I’ve been around it so long and worked with offense, defense, everything. I know the way things go, so I hope that’ll help me, but there’s going to be a lot of new things that I’m going to do.”

Herrington’s resume at Hart includes six appearances in a CIF-SS championship game 15 Foothill League titles. He has also been teaching special education at the school since 1982.

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