Strait Herron said when he was a child, he used to look at athletic directors and think, “That is what I want to be.”
He has a different view now.
Herron is quickly becoming an overworked multi-tasker, trying to prepare for Legion Collegiate Academy’s first-ever home football game. In fact, earlier this week, he had to leave football practice and turn things over to his assistants because he had to go handle unexpected athletic director duties.
“In my mind, everyday dealing with sports would fit right up my alley,” he said. “But what you find out when you get into this is that being an AD, you don’t deal with sports, you deal with problems. So, the athletic director part was a lot tougher than I expected, especially starting a new school. If I could just coach football, which was the original plan, I think it would be a whole lot more beneficial to me.”
Being athletic director and head football coach has caused Herron to juggle a lot of tasks. For example, as early as Monday this week, Herron said things were still in flux for the school’s first-ever football game. Eventually, things were worked out and the game will be played as originally scheduled: on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. against the Greenwood Raptors at Westminster Catawba Christian School.
“It’s really tough,” he said. “It is challenging. You are trying to find games that you can get.”
Herron said that because he’s inherited the helm of a new school, tagged with it being in the middle of a realignment year, he has come to expect the unexpected.
“Knowing all the people that I know, I thought scheduling would be easier, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way,” he said.
Herron has 63 players on the roster.
“Catawba Ridge is a brand-new school, and I am sure they aren’t running into the problems we are, and they are an at-large school like we are,” he said. “The only difference between them and us is we have charter in the name. We are just like everybody else. It is just really strange. People don’t see it that way. They have misconceptions.”
Herron said Legion isn’t as prepared to play football as other schools because it is such a new school. They’ve had since June 10 to put together the team.
“It is going to be tough,” Herron said. “We aren’t as far along as we should be, but I am pleased with how our guys are doing. They are being coached by some of the best people I know. We are getting it done.”
Herron said he knows it will take time to make Legion work, and as long as they are doing things the right way, things will work out. Even being in a temporary school setting — the former Trinity Christian school building, where Legion Academy meets during the day — has made things hard.
After school, the team is forced to go to Hargett Park off Cherry Road to practice. But before they practice, the team also has to find a place to lift weights.
“Once we get the school built, the whole dynamic will change,” Herron said.
When it comes to playing their first home game, Herron said he can’t speak much about Greenwood.
“I know very little,” he said. “We got some video on them. And being athletic director as well, I have had little time to watch it. I know they have a really good running back.”
Legion has nine games, two of which would be considered home games.
Herron is relying a lot on his assistants, saying: “I am just leading the team; I am not really coaching.”
The list of assistants includes former South Pointe and York head coach Bobby Carroll and former Northwestern legend Jimmy “Moose” Wallace.
“I told them coming in that in the first year I am going to be doing stuff I am not use to doing, so Coach Carroll makes out the practice schedule for us and he is getting our games for us, and he is taking care of the defense,” Herron said. “Spencer Carroll and Coach Wallace are taking care of the offense. I am kind of overseeing it all. I hope to get more involved later.”