wasn’t about to revisit something he was already well aware of when he first took over as head coach of the boys’ basketball team.
A number of controversies sprung when Fords’ previous long-time coach Terry McNichol wasn’t retained after last season, including some undeserved criticism aimed at the team from the local community.
Heinerichs knew about the situation, and though he was coaching at the time at Ridley High School, he does live in Havertown. He has ears. He heard the talk. It didn’t matter.
Heinerichs’ goal this season was simple: Coach the team up and focus on the present and the future. There was no changing the past. To Heinerichs’ credit, he’s done a very good job of staying in the present, and that’s translated into dividends. The Fords were 5-6 overall entering this past weekend. That’s one victory short of what Haverford did all of last season.
The stain of how the McNichol situation was handled seems to have faded. Again, much of that credit belongs to Heinerichs, who’s kept the past in the past, and continues to stress positives, positives, positives.
“It’s been good, really good,” Heinerichs said of his experience at Haverford so far this season. “We’ve definitely competed in every game, and unfortunately the scoreboard hasn’t gone in our favor, the effort and spirit of the kids has been great. It’s been a good transition; it’s been smooth from the get-go. Personally, I’m five minutes from home every day so I can bring my son to practice and hang out.
“It’s great being closer to home. As far as the team, I think, as far as everyone, our staff and our kids, the process was made easier by getting to know everyone during the summer and the fall. The kids knew what practice would be like and our philosophy on basketball. It’s really gone well.”
But Heinerichs wasn’t about to accept any accolades on the ease at which the transition has gone. Instead, he spoke about how his staff, and mostly the players, have made it easy.
“Coaching is coaching,” he said. “The kids have been very coachable and that’s made our job as a staff very easy. We have a great staff and a great group of guys who want to teach the game, and that makes my job very easy. But the real reason is the kids on this team. They’re very coachable and they want to try and be good. They’re putting in the effort. That’s all I ask. One of the things I never came into the job to do was build anyone up. We came in to coach and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
The Fords have been competitive. They were within eight points with three minutes to play against league favorite Lower Merion before losing, and lost on a last-second shot against league contender Conestoga.
“We’re making correctable mistakes,” Heinerichs said. “If we can correct those mistakes as a group, we’re going to be okay. The kids are taking ownership of responsibilities. The goal is to get to the district playoffs. If we reach that goal, it’s going to be a successful year.”