Update: Herron explains why he’s leaving Camden for Prince Avenue Christian

Jeff Herron says he understands why fans might’ve been thrown for a loop Wednesday when they heard the news.

Herron, who led Camden County to three state championships and national prominence in Georgia’s highest classification in his 13 seasons in Kingsland, was announced as the new head football coach at Class A private school Prince Avenue Christian in Bogart.

Reached by phone, Herron said his wife asked the same questions:  Are you ready to leave the spotlight of the highest classification and the national renown that Camden has earned for a school of fewer than 500 students? Won’t you miss it?

‘’While I’m not going to tell you that stuff doesn’t have some importance, it’s never been as important as some think,’’ Herron said. ‘’I just like coaching kids and the relationship you have with your players and coaches. That’s why I got in the business. It’s going to be less players [at Prince Avenue], but that gives me a chance to build even closer relationships. That’s more important to me at this stage of life than playing on ESPN.’’

With that, Herron’s wife, Inka, was all on board. Their daughter Brittany lives in the Athens area. She is expecting her first child any day. It will be the Herrons’ first grandchild. Herron also will be closer to his father, Thomas, in Virginia.

Herron, 52, won Class AAAAA titles at Camden in 2003, 2008 and 2009 and was 158-18 at Camden on the Georgia coast. His overall record is 242-45.

In 1999, Herron led Oconee County to its only title and is one of 13 coaches in state history to lead two different schools to football state championships. No coach has won state titles at three schools.

Prince Avenue’s campus, originally in Athens, is located in Oconee County. Herron also was coach of nearby Cedar Shoals in Athens from 1990 to 1993.

Prince Avenue was 11-3 in 2012 and lost in the Class A private championship game to Eagle’s Landing Christian. Prince Avenue started varsity football in 2005.

Former coach Mark Farriba resigned earlier this year to return to his alma mater, Stratford Academy in Macon.

Herron said he plans no changes on the coaching staff. Prince Avenue defensive coordinator is Richard Bell, a former defensive coordinator at Georgia. Herron coached Bell’s son, Murray, while at Cedar Shoals some 20 years ago.

‘’I’m hopeful that all of them will stay, and they’ll all be given that opportunity,’’ Herron said. “They have a great staff as witnessed by their success.’’

Herron is not the first coach to leave a top program in the highest classification for something smaller.

Blair Armstrong left Peachtree Ridge, the 2006 state champion, for Banks County. Tim McFarlin, whose Roswell team shared that 2006 state title, retired briefly, re-emerged to help build the football program at Class A King’s Ridge and now coaches at Class AAA Blessed Trinity.

‘’There’s no question that a program this big [at Camden] that I am more of a CEO,’’ Herron said. “Having a smaller environment hopefully will help me do things that I love. But I’m not saying that I’m down-sizing. That would be a disservice at Prince Avenue. Their goals and dreams are just as important as the people at Camden. I’m going to put the same energy there as I did here.’’

He leaves Camden as the most winning school in Georgia’s highest class since he was hired there in 2000.

‘’It has been a good run,’’ Herron said. “Like I told my players, I’m a small piece of the puzzle. I’m thankful I was along for ride. They’re still going to be good. If I’d waited for them to run out of talent, I would’ve been around a long time.’’

88 comments Add your comment

Michael Ward

February 19th, 2013
9:38 pm

StingerSplash

February 19th, 2013
9:40 pm

Holy crap! Who’s gonna inherit the Camden job?

SGT CHRIS

February 19th, 2013
10:00 pm

All of 1-6A is throwing simultaneous block parties!!!

johnny too good

February 19th, 2013
10:13 pm

They must have offered a really nice contract. I heard he already had things sweet down there in Kingsland.

HSFB Follower

February 19th, 2013
10:17 pm

That Camden light and success was coming down on him…. Had to make a move… Not shocked at all!

jdawg34

February 19th, 2013
10:28 pm

Might want to check that he coached at Paulding first and then moved over to McEarchen….

Reg5aaaaaguy

February 19th, 2013
10:33 pm

Actually Herron started his career with his friend jimmy Dorsey at paulding county high school

Todd Holcomb

February 19th, 2013
10:33 pm

Thanks, JD. Didn’t realize he started w/ Dorsey prior to McEachern. Good catch.

Historian

February 19th, 2013
10:40 pm

Wouldn’t be surprised to see either Stephens or Crowder head back down to Kingsland.

HSFB Follower

February 19th, 2013
10:49 pm

Good Call Historian!!!

mistermak

February 19th, 2013
11:22 pm

Wow!! I would have expected him to move up not down! Not suprised to see him go but not so sure about going to 1A?

Mrs. William

February 19th, 2013
11:27 pm

Your Coach is Gone????

Hubert Green

February 19th, 2013
11:27 pm

If Herron has 30 years, he can get full retirement of his top two year’s at 60% of that amount. Then he can get a full salary at the private school worth whatever they’ll pay him. It’s called double dipping, and it is the main reason he would leave. Mo money. Ron “the missing” Link is doing the same thing in hoops. Rusty Hudson has been doing it for 16 years at Westminster as their AD.

Rooster

February 19th, 2013
11:30 pm

Your Coach is gone???? Praise the Lord???

Disgusted

February 19th, 2013
11:50 pm

Just upset these kids had to find out through Blogs, Twitter and Facebook and not from him! Sad he is going to uproot his son who is a sophomore and who has played with these kids for ever just for more money! Well see ya the other coaches are the backbone of this team anyways!! Camden will be just fine

blu eagle

February 19th, 2013
11:53 pm

Welcome back to mediocrity Camden co.!

Concerned Parent

February 20th, 2013
12:40 am

He has been a good coach, and so best wishes as he moves on. Camden will replace him, have no doubt. I only wish Camden would devote as much time to replacing the elementary music teachers, and returning our system to its place as a leader in the arts. Until we have a well rounded education available to our kids, I can’t spend much time worrying about replacing the head football coach.

camden fan

February 20th, 2013
12:53 am

Concerned parent it wasn’t the counties call on doing away with elementary art program. That was a state issue all elementary schools lost art. As for Coach Herron wish him luck. Hate to see him leave but I agree Stephens or Crowder would be good replacements

ACC-SEC Booster

February 20th, 2013
4:01 am

SGT CHRIS

February 19th, 2013
10:00 pm

{{”All of 1-6A is throwing simultaneous block parties!!!”}}

Don’t you mean ALL of Class AAAAAA (6A) is throwing block parties?

It is most of the rest of the state’s highest classification (now 6A, formerly 5A), including obviously many Metro Atlanta and North Georgia teams, that have had to go on the road to deep Southeastern Coastal Georgia to get their brains beat in every postseason during Camden County’s run of dominance.

Depending on who takes over and how the Wildcats program responds in the aftermath, Herrod leaving Camden for Prince Avenue outside of Athens likely continues and possibly even accelerates the long-term shifting of the balance of power from South Georgia to North Georgia in Class 6A and likely in all classes of Georgia high school football.

Concerned Parent

February 20th, 2013
6:30 am

Camden Fan, it most certainly was the county’s call and specifically the Superintendent. The state did stop funding the music teacher position, but that didn’t mean that local school boards couldn’t. Across the state, many, many systems found a way to save the arts programs. EVEN TINY CHARLTON COUNTY has their music teachers still. That is the county line and what they say when you call the BOE, but that’s not the whole story. I don’t mind money spent on the football team or at the high school. I just wish someone would llook out for the younger students like my child.

Wildcat Guy

February 20th, 2013
6:47 am

Instead of asking why are you leaving, we should be thanking Coach Jeff Herron for building one of the best high school football programs in the country. What a legacy Coach Herron has left for us. I love the Herron Family and are very excited about their future and our future.

Camden 79

February 20th, 2013
7:57 am

First and foremost the main concern is and should be the kids, I hope whoever the next coach is will not come in and make alot of changes, as for my pick for the new coach, Slattery or Cofffey would be a great replacement.

HardHat

February 20th, 2013
8:12 am

WOW ! Was it the lure of the money? Maybe a slower pace? Maybe the move was for the familys best interest? Maybe he just wanted to get to a faith based enviorment? He has done his time in the Goverment school system. Hope he enjoys his time at the new place. He should not have a hard time finding good players I am sure the line to get in his new school will be longer.

Say It Aint So

February 20th, 2013
8:22 am

I think playing in the new power region 1 may have something to do with the move.

Mikefalcon63

February 20th, 2013
8:36 am

All about the $$$. The guy will never admit it publicly…. But there is no other reason to leave the top job in the state. It will be funny if he flops.

Cobb Coach

February 20th, 2013
8:44 am

There are plenty of reasons to leave top jobs. Sometimes you just need a fresh start or a new challenge. Sometimes family issues come into play. Sometimes you feel like you’ve accomplished all that you could at a school. Sometimes you see the pipeline is draining. Sometimes you’re tired of the admin team at your school

Do any of these apply to Herron? No idea, but as a fellow coach I wish him all the luck in the world at his new school.

Gus Hall

February 20th, 2013
8:46 am

@Historian

I highly doubt that Crowder will bolt for Camden now that he has been named the new coach at Creekview. As for Stephens, he has MORE than a sweet deal at Lamar County.

Those guys are great and would be great for Camden but I feel they are staying put for a while.

bucket

February 20th, 2013
9:00 am

“It’s a Great Day to be a Wolverine!” Welcome to the Prince family Coach Herron! With Coach Farriba leaving some of us were afraid that the program might take a giant step backward, but with the addition of Coach Herron it looks like we could just be getting started! Prince doesn’t accept GOAL scholarship money like the bigger Private schools do, but Coach Herron should have enough contacts in this area and children of former players to start building a program that will attract players.

Tom Jenson

February 20th, 2013
9:03 am

Jeff Herron is a good coach and well worth the money, but Prince Ave is a hick school in the middle of nowhere with zero academics. I can’t imagine how christian schools are getting to this point, but here they are with a football coach making three times more than the teachers. Oh well, too bad Camden, guess you should have upped your price a little. The Christians are out-bidding everyone in the state.

bucket

February 20th, 2013
9:11 am

“Prince Ave is a hick school in the middle of nowhere with zero academics” Really? Do a little investigating and see what percentage of the Senior Class @ Prince goes to college and the quality of colleges they are actually being accepted by. Prince provides a great education for it’s students and is only rivaled in the Athens area by Athens Academy and North Oconee.

W

February 20th, 2013
9:12 am

@Hubert Green…that is ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT information. It’s 17 yrs! Ha!

ole dawg

February 20th, 2013
9:27 am

Tom Jenson… you don’t have a clue about Prince Ave. and your comments are dead wrong! I have absolutely no connection to that school but live in a neighboring county. It is a tremendous academic school. So much so that Mark Richt and several other UGA coaches send their kids there. It is also in the Athens community and there are is always cultural and sports actvities going on. Also about an hour drive from Atlanta. I can see many reasons why Coach Herron would want to get bacfk in the Athens community. He will for sure get to see Brice(sp?) Ramsey’s career up close at UGA.

Tamara Walker

February 20th, 2013
9:38 am

Thanks to Coach Herron for the years he’s given us and Good Luck in your future. You have done a great job of building a SELF-SUSTAINING program that actually contributes money to the other sports and school programs that can’t bring in the fans and support themselves. You’ve taught our boys how to be good winners and also how to be gracious losers and how to play the game with honor and committment. We’ll miss you this fall. GO WILDCATS!

Bluecrewfan

February 20th, 2013
9:47 am

WoW !! I can’t believe all of the Camden fans that are bashing your coach !! Camden, although they were building up to something special, had average to slightly above average success before Coach Herron. You should be thanking him for his contributions to your program. He helped turned your school into a state powerhouse which will, in turn, make it a more appealing to an excellent replacement. If they decide to hire from within and go with Coach Coffey or another assistant, I’m sure the wheels will keep right on churning and burning up the competition. For Coach Herron, congratulations on your new job and the Christian education for your kid or kids.

Mark in ATL

February 20th, 2013
9:48 am

Really nice to trash Prince when you obviously have no knowledge of it….tremendous school that Mark Richt sent his kids to.

Money?

February 20th, 2013
9:52 am

How about the fact that his daughter is married, lives in Athens, and is pregnant? Ever thought that he and his wife might like to see the grand children?

Camden football isn’t more important than life. Even to Jeff Herron.

norcrossdawg

February 20th, 2013
9:55 am

Hey,,What about the JOB Coach Farriba has done at Prince!!! He is one heckuva Coach and even more,, a heckuva man and does a fantastic job of shaping young peoples’ lives!!! I was one of the first players he coached during his first year of coaching at UGA on the 1978 JV Team where he was a Grad Asst coach, and 34 years later Istill live by some of the messages he taught me…Good Luck in Macon at your alma mater! LB

Concerned Parent

February 20th, 2013
9:59 am

Herron was not a teacher with a supplemental duty as the football coach. He received over $100K for coaching HS football. It is such a disgrace when the School Board and administration care more about the football program than educating ALL students, including those with special needs.

CamWildcatFan

February 20th, 2013
10:00 am

I personally would like Coach Coffey (current OC) take the program.

Beaver Doe

February 20th, 2013
10:06 am

Good Luck to Coach herron and his family. His daughter lives up that way and is expecting their first grandchild and beleive me that is a HUGE reason to move but the double dipping will make it really sweet too.
Camden will do fine, we have talented kids, great support system and our next head coach will be just what we need at this time. So dont worry about The Camden County Wildcats we were and will always be a powerful winning football team!!

Oh and PS that’s correct about each county deciding to do away with music and arts in their schools. Several systems in GA have managed to keep their art and or music programs.

BamaBoy

February 20th, 2013
10:29 am

Out of the shadow of Rush Propst. Maybe now an offense with some imagination! Lamar Co. is biting their nails. Will Franklin Stephens be contacted? Herron did what any other good coach could have done at Camden in all those years playing such a weak region schedule.

CAMDEN1981

February 20th, 2013
10:31 am

Great job Jeff Herron at Camden. You will be missed. What you have done for Camden (3 State Championships , built great community support , national recognition ) is unmatched. Good luck to you and your family.

Lakerman

February 20th, 2013
10:40 am

Camden may just promote from within to play it safe. If that’s the case, assistant HC Byron Slack would be a prime candidate.

BT

February 20th, 2013
10:42 am

Does it really matter what the decision was? He made it in the best interest for him and his family. He owes no explanation to anyone.

57Cat

February 20th, 2013
10:49 am

Sometimes people just get their priorities right: faith, family, football. I take Coach Herron at his word; there is nothing like the feeling of exercising the freedom to put your in balance and follow the things most important to you. I wish him the best and will follow Prince Avenue Christian with interest.

liberalefty

February 20th, 2013
10:56 am

well we know they won’t hire a black coach!

topper

February 20th, 2013
11:00 am

liberalefty – I hope you’re wrong and they get Coach Stephens back here. Good luck to Coach Herron thank you for all the years of hard work you put in here.

87 Indian

February 20th, 2013
11:20 am

Some programs can lose a HOF coach and still maintain the culture. Herron, like Dorsey, Bazemore, and Hyder are winners for the entire community, including the Arts program. They require higher standards of performance across the organization, including the proud band.

Stop whining and you too can experience whatever success you want. Congratulations Coach Tubby Herron, for setting another example of how winners appear to be lucky to the unprepared or uniformed. It is taught, that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. “If you prepare the field and then it rains, will the man that didn’t prepare his field call you lucky at the harvest”, paraphrased from Coach Grant Taylor, FTG.

God bless,

Stanley

February 20th, 2013
11:53 am

Actually, only two coaches in in Camdens’ region make less money than Herron. I’m sure $ might have played a part.

AA Spartan

February 20th, 2013
12:26 pm

Tom Jenson keeping it classy!