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The Herrington Hart Legacy Continues
October, 2021 - Issue #204

For the past four decades, anyone associated with the Hart High School football program knows two names: Herrington and Fiscus. But, while these pillars are synonymous with Hart football, many don't know where the Herrington story began. We're about to remedy that.
As the story goes, the year was 1978, there was a gas shortage and gas jumped to $5 a gallon, the Steelers were Super Bowl champs, the Bee Gees topped the charts - and Rick Herrington began coaching football at Hart High School.
Rick coached the freshman team that year, first as offensive coordinator, then as the freshman head coach. This assignment is important to note for a particularly interesting reason: Rick was named the head coach at 18 years of age. For reference, 21 is now the minimum age for head-coaching positions in CIF Sports.
In '78, with his brother Rick as his head coach, younger brother Dean Herrington played quarterback for the Hart freshman team, eventually joining his brother in the campus's coaching ranks. Two years later, older brother Mike Herrington became an assistant for the varsity program, and - just like that - the cornerstones had been laid and the family trifecta was complete.
Fast Forward to the present. In another time, the story of Mike Herrington's retirement would've been met by the community with significant fanfare and reminiscent tributes - however the arrival of Covid-19 made that an impossibility. So "Head Coach 1" slipped quietly out of the spotlight, and in moved his brother, Rick, to take over the program.
Hart Principal Jason d'Autremont called the opportunity "deserving." "He paid his dues, and we're very lucky he decided to stick around for us, considering the circumstances with COVID," added d'Autremont. "Mike has always said that Rick is the backbone of the program and that couldn't be more true."
2020 was a lost year for football programs across the nation as most SoCal schools decided to forgo the season or play a league-only schedule. "It wasn't the way I expected to start off," said Rick Herrington. "We had some guys we were really sorry to see go. They worked hard to get there and lost out on a lot of experiences that they'll never get back." The Foothill League decided to schedule a five-game season, playing each team once last spring without any semblance of a playoff. Saugus finished atop the division, with Hart slipping to a third-place finish.
With the 2021 season now underway, Rick is the varsity head coach, Mike is his assistant and Hart is looking to grapple a league championship away from the perennial Foothill League powerhouse: the Valencia Vikings.
"But, while these pillars are synonymous with Hart football,
many don't know where the Herrington STORY BEGAN."
Rick notes the difficulties of taking over any program during COVID, explaining, "It's tough organizing practices with all the logistics and compliance." Expectations haven't changed at Hart, though. With an 11-year league championship streak over 10 years in the rear view and some challenging contests just up the road, the team is preparing for battle. "We're real young," Herrington admits, "but there's talent on both sides of the ball and we expect to perform well."
Players and coaches agree that the transition from "Head Coach 1" to "Head Coach 2" was almost seamless. Senior wide receiver Daniel Larkin, the only player in the program to have served under both coaches, says, "There's really no difference to me. One does the defense, the other does the offense." Larkin explains playing for the Herringtons like this: "Sometimes, they mess with the young guys and it's funny because the player doesn't know if they're kidding or not...they know how to make it fun."
Assistant coach Bryan Martuscello says, "They've basically been doing this same thing for years. Each of them works their own side of the ball." Martuscello explains that the perspective coming from each coach is invaluable to the program. It is apparent that the players and staff are all in behind Rick - and no one is expecting the program to skip a beat. Mike Herrington notes, "He could've gone and coached anywhere, but we've been lucky to have him here. He deserves this opportunity...he's the right guy." As far as Rick is concerned, he wouldn't have it any other way.
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