Now hopefully some healing can begin with the pending hiring of new coach Keith Heinerichs, the highly successful Ridley coach who lives in the Haverford community, according to a number of sources. What’s more is that Heinerichs could be bringing aboard a good wealth of experience and success as an assistant coach in former Archbishop Carroll coach John Rowe, another Haverford resident and close friend of Heinerichs’.
According to a number of unnamed sources close to the situation, Heinerichs is nearly a shoe-in for the position. Apparently, his name will be presented for approval at the Haverford School Board on Thursday night's meeting, and if approved, he’ll be taking over for McNichol, whose contract was not renewed on April 1 after 15 years as head coach.
Heinerichs cannot speak on the record until he’s approved by the school board, but he built a competitive team at Ridley, predicated on playing defense and working off a motion offense. He’s directed the Green Raiders to Central League championships and state playoff berths, and he leaves a very good situation to take over the Fords, including one of the league’s top players, Sean Church.
Haverford High School was contacted and has not returned any messages left by the Haverford-Havertown Patch.
Heinerichs, whose Ridley team went 12-11 overall last year, inherits a 6-16 team that has a good nucleus back, led by juniors Pierre Charles, Kevin Gladstone and Pat Morgan.
Heinerichs will be introduce formally to the team next week, according to the only named-source Charles.
Two weeks ago, the Haverford players ran two open gyms with Heinerichs and Upper Darby assistant coach Dave McFadden, the other candidate who was up for the job. Sources close to the situation say that McFadden will be rejoining the Upper Darby staff. It has been implied that the players know who the next coach will be.
“Coach Heinerichs is the next coach, he’s already Coach Heinerichs to us,” Charles said. “I won’t forget what happened over the last three or four months. It was a long drawn-out process, that wasn’t handled in the right way. What’s done is done. The players were out of the whole thing. I have to give Haverford credit for involving us in the interview process, practicing with the new coach. We liked it. We didn’t want to be thrown to another person. It made us feel a little more at ease, we were included in the process, we didn’t have to find out through someone else. Coach Heinerichs is going to be our next coach. There’s no doubt.”
Finding out who might be the next coach has been a source of comfort to Charles.
“I’m just happy that we have a coach and we know who the coach,” Charles said. “It’s going to be different because we’re learning a completely new system, but Coach Heinerichs is a winner, and that’s what we need. We’re not used to winning and anything that will help. It’s better to know having a coach and having all the other stuff out of the way. I’m happy about this. There is nothing we can do about Coach McNichol. We can’t go back.
“The players got a lot of grief over what happened with Coach McNichol. We got blamed and called the worst players in the history of the school. We got a lot of junk over this, and I can care less what people have to say. There were a lot of people that had a lot of bad things to say about us. It’s funny, because it all came out now, after Coach McNichol was fired. The community their turned our backs on us. We weren’t really winning. This will be our senior year and we’re focused on being number one and that’s what we’re hoping to do. Next year, all eyes will be on us. With the new system, the new coach, what we’re out to prove is that we can win. I sound angry, sure, because I hate it when I have to prove myself, especially to a bunch of adults who never saw us play.”