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Herto Looks Forward to Return
Apr. 23, 2010
Herto looks forward to return, challenge
By CHRIS McFARLAND, Sentinel correspondent
POSTED: April 23, 2010
HIGHLAND PARK - In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Mifflin County School Board voted to rehire Roger Herto to coach the Indian Valley girls basketball team, replacing Steven DeArment, who stepped down from the position at the end of this season.
The decision came two years after the board voted not to rehire Herto, a decision that didn't sit well with many members of the community. Herto, who was not at Thursday's board meeting, first learned of the board's decision in a phone call from his wife giving him the good news.
He said that he was very happy to hear the news after a tough two years away from coaching.
"After you do something for 24 years and suddenly it's not there, it's tough," he said. "It's been a difficult two years.
"I'm very thankful for all the support I was given by a lot of parents, current and former players and members of the community. They really went to bat for me. I'm very grateful."
Herto said the calls were flying in after the decision was made to bring him back, and there were plenty of people other than parents and coaches that he wanted to thank.
"I want to thank our principal, assistant principal and athletic director," he said. "It would have been easy for them to wipe their hands clean of the situation and look elsewhere, but they stuck by me and their support meant a lot to me.
"I do want to thank the board for listening to me. Not just because they voted yes, but because they gave me an opportunity to speak and to work with the kids again."
Herto, who was the coach at Kishacoquillas prior to the merger that formed Indian Valley, was named assistant coach to Tracy Bailor, the coach at Chief Logan, for Warriors' inaugural season in 1988-89. In 1990, Herto was given the head coach position at Indian Valley, and continued to coach for 24 years at the school.
Indian Valley went to five District 6 championship games under Herto - including an appearance as a Class AAAA team in 1998 - but won just one of them, beating cross-county rival Lewistown during the 2000-01 season. That year, the Warriors finished 25-6 and advanced to the final four in the state, where they lost to West Mifflin in the western final game.
Herto said that he had other opportunities to coach during his two year hiatus, but decided against it because his heart was always with Indian Valley.
"When push came to shove, I missed coaching," Herto said. "But I wanted to coach at Indian Valley. I can hardly wait to get back into the gym and start practicing."
For the most part, it will be a brand new team at Indian Valley from the one Herto last coached, and he knows he will have to start from scratch to build up another winning team.
"I was only gone two years, but a lot's changed in two years," he said. "In ways it's going to be like starting over. Basically for me, I'm going to start from ground zero with these girls."
Herto can't wait for the season to get started and to pick up where he left off. He also said that when the first game of the season rolls around, he will be a bit nervous, just like a first-year coach all over again.
"One of my early mentors told me, 'If you're not nervous, then you shouldn't be in it,'" Herto said. "I'm sure the first game in December I'll be a little nervous, but it's not about me, it's about the kids. I just consider myself lucky to work with these girls."
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