It is very clear that football will continue to be extremely popular, and very relevant, to the Brentwood High School community.
Keith Herring, Brentwood’s new football coach, is now the target of abundant attention as he moves into his new role, which also includes being a full-time time teacher. He’ll be the ISS (in-school suspension) teacher.
Herring had been coaching at Hazelwood West since 1987 until leaving the program in 2009. He’s been a JV coach, defensive back coach, special teams coordinator, defensive coordinator and an assistant head coach during his coaching career. For a few years, he was the offensive coordinator, and in ’05 he took over as head coach.
He looks forward to being in the school every day, and getting to know all the students, not just the football players.
“I really think it’s beneficial that I’m going to be in the building,” Herring said, “To be with the kids every day. I plan on making an impact on every kid in the school. I’ve got one of those personalities where I like to talk to kids, and I want to get the whole school involved.”
He says his biggest strength, as a coach, is that he really gets to know his players. “I really promote a family-oriented team, where everybody is looking out for each other,” he said. “I really try to get them to bond together, and we become a family. I firmly believe that your attitude, your chemistry, develops your level of success, no matter what your talent level is.
“I really find a way to tie everybody together, and bring everybody together, and we fight together,” Herring said.
He describes his offensive system as a spread-wing T. “It’s basically two offenses “hybrided” into one,” he said. “It takes the strengths of both of those offenses, and we can run the ball, we can pass the ball, and we have the flexibility to get into a lot of different formations, a lot of different looks that sometimes, the teams may not have seen before, so I think that’s a huge advantage for us.”
For the past five or six years, he said he’s played a 3-3-5 defense, which he describes as an attacking defense, which allows for a lot of speed on the field and doesn’t require big kids. “I haven’t seen all the players yet, but if we can find three decent lineman, then we can do a lot of things,” Herring said.
Herring said he’s looking forward to meeting and working with the existing assistant coaches. “They know the kids, they know the history, the traditions, and I want to build on those,” he added. For a line coach, to replace the recently retired Paul Haug, Herring said he’s leaning toward a coach who was his offensive coordinator at Hazelwood West.
Talking about his two most previous seasons, 2008 and 2009, at Hazelwood West, Herring said both started out at 6-0, then De Smet beat them both years in week seven. In both seasons, every team in their conference (Suburban North) was 1-1 going into the last game. In each of those years, they were beat in the last game by the team that went on to state.
“I think we were like 43-12 over that two-year period,” he said, “where the lower levels were winning, and I felt like things were getting going in the right direction. It was a lot of fun in those two years.”
His program goals are to excel in the classroom, to develop unbreakable team unity, to treat everybody with respect, to be outstanding citizens, to be the hardest-working team in the state and, of course, to win on the field.
Regarding his leaving his Hazelwood West position, and the situation that left more than one coach leaving the school, he said “I’ll just be upfront with you about it. It was an unfortunate situation, where I had received an e-mail, and it was from another coach. It was a joke, and I passed it on, and I kind of got caught up in the politics of it,” he said.
“They were bringing some people down, and I just decided…I had a chance to fight it; I kind of looked at everything, and decided that I’ve got a good reputation, the people out there know me, they know what I’m capable of. I decided the move would be to resign. Let’s part ways and move on with it,” Herring said.
“That’s what I’m doing. I’m putting that behind me and moving forward.”
Herring said the number one thing a guy learns on his team is that nobody is going to give you a victory. “You’re going to have to take it,” he said. “We’re not ever going to go into a game thinking that someone’s going to lay down. We’re going to step up and fight. I preach that every game is a dogfight. And we want to get better every game.
“We’re going to go in realizing that that game is won during the week, and we’re going to win that game during the week and then cash the check on Friday night.”
Herring said he’s looking forward to meeting with the team, to tell them what he’s all about and what his expectations are. “We’re going to start right off the bat with the weight room. I’m going to get my summer schedule ready to go, I’ve already got a couple of 7-on-7 leagues I’m looking at…once we get everything in place we’re going to hit the ground with both feet running.”
Brentwood principal, Dr. Don Rugraff, said he’s excited about what Herring has to offer not just the football program, but all the kids in the school.
“We know how much he values relationships,” Rugraff said, “and we know, from talking with other individuals where he came from, how his former players felt about him, and what they say about him, and the level they regard him as just a great person. We’ve got a package here, and we’re really excited moving forward.”
“I think I’ve got a system that works pretty good that we can adapt to what we have in terms of talent and number of kids,” Herring said, “so I’m pretty excited to look at the kids and see who we’ve got coming out, and fill the spots in, and go from there.”