South Pointe has hired from within by naming Strait Herron as the school's new football coach.
Herron, 43, served as the Stallions' defensive coordinator under former head coach Bobby Carroll. This is Herron's first head coaching position.
Brigitte Herron, Strait's wife of 18 years, said her husband got a phone Monday as the family was sitting down together for dinner. It was South Pointe athletic director Mike Drummond calling to ask if Herron would take the job.
"He was really in tears," Brigitte Herron said. "It's been a lifelong dream of his."
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Herron sat at the dinner table after the phone call. He just sat there with his family. He couldn't eat, he was so excited.
Drummond called the interview process "grueling." A committee interviewed several candidates from South Carolina as well as neighboring states.
"Our coach was right here," Drummond said. "He has what we need to keep the program going."
The new coach inherits a program that has won 50 of 68 games. In 2008, the Stallions went 15-0 and won the Class AAAA Division II state championship. The last three seasons the team owns a 38-6 record.
"I am extremely excited. There are some great students and coaches at this school," Herron said. "Assistant coaches and coordinators have responsibilities. Being a head coach brings new responsibilities. We have a plan to make sure we move straight forward."
More like Strait forward. The first order of business will take place on Friday when Herron holds a team meeting.
Herron knows football in York County. He played at Northwestern High School and later was a coach for the Trojans. He has also coached at Clover and Rock Hill before moving to South Pointe, which opened in 2005.
That local experience was one of the determining factors for South Pointe principal Dr. Al Leonard in choosing Herron for the job.
"There is an advantage to having someone that is from the area and knows each school's history and tendencies," Leonard said. "Candidly, we expect to be in a playoff spot every year. In a short period of time we have built a strong football program. We needed someone to keep building our young men. With Strait's character, good relationships with the players and work ethic, we had someone in house."
The Stallions football coaching position has been vacant since Carroll left earlier this year to take over as head coach at York Comprehensive High School.
Herron said he owes a lot to Carroll. The two go back to Herron's playing days as a linebacker at Northwestern when Carroll was his position coach.
"I'm sure when we play York there will be a lot of laughs and smiles," Herron said. "I know we'll compete. I want to win. I want to beat him."
Herron is a 1986 graduate of Northwestern. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Coastal Carolina University in 1991 and a Master of Education from Winthrop University in 2001.
He has served as defensive coordinator/linebacker coach for 11 seasons; seven at Clover and four at South Pointe. Herron led a Stallion defense that has recorded 83 sacks in the last three seasons spanning 44 games. He has sent numerous defensive players off to Division I colleges.
He has been interviewed for head coaching positions in the past but none of them panned out. Each time he and his wife have agreed it was for the best.
"There is something special about South Pointe," Herron said. He grew up not more than five miles from where the school stands.
"I've been turned down for jobs before. That makes me think there is a purpose; a reason for me being here."
The Herrons have two children, Sydney and Dalton.