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Ex-Casa coach Herzog to lead St. Vincent

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A St. Vincent de Paul High School need met Trent Herzog’s desire this week when the former Casa Grande head coach was hired to lead the renaissance of the St. Vincent football program.

St. Vincent was in need of not just a football coach, but a quality coach and preferably one well known in the community after its initial choice, John Antonio, stepped away because of personal obligations.

Herzog, meanwhile, was desirous to get back into coaching after spending a year away from the sidelines following what amounted to a controversial dismissal from the Casa Grande head coaching job.

“I missed coaching,” Herzog acknowledged. “I coached for 23 years, and I missed not being on the sidelines. I also missed not being part of the Petaluma community.”

“I’m very excited about the hiring,” said St. Vincent Principal Patrick Daly. “Trent understands the direction we want to go as well as the challenges.”

Daly said Herzog emerged as the best from among 14 candidates, but the decision wasn’t easy. He explained that, with the help of a search committee, the field was narrowed to four top candidates. One dropped out, leaving three of what the principal described as “very well-qualified candidates.”

He said there were several factors that helped lead to Herzog’s hiring. “His success as a coach and a mentor were definitely factors,” Daly said. “Being locally known and knowing the community was definitely to his benefit.”

To say Herzog is anxious to get started would be an understatement. He is already setting up a coaching staff, and he has eight coaches, including several who worked with him at Casa Grande and some who played for him at that school, already lined up to help.

He plans to meet with all potential football players who aren’t playing spring sports next week and will soon be meeting with them on an individual basis.

“I have a lot of great memories and a lot of great friends I made at Casa Grande,” he said. “But we’re not looking back. We are looking ahead. This is a new chapter in my life.”

Herzog had several opportunities to return to coaching after leaving Casa Grande last year. Among them, he ticked off:

* Support from the community.

* St. Vincent’s strong academic reputation.

* A chance to work with Daly.

* Being back in a position to again make a difference in young athletes’ lives.

* A chance to choose his own staff.

Herzog replaces Gary Galloway, who coached at St. Vincent for 34 years. His football teams won 12 league championships and four North Coast Section championships.

Herzog coached at Casa Grande for 21 years, including seven as head coach. His teams qualified for the NCS playoffs in each of his head coaching seasons, and won three league championships.

His connections with coaches on the collegiate level helped 12 of his players earn full scholarships to Division I programs. Twenty-eight played at the college level.

He was the Sonoma County League Coach of the Year in 2010; the Redwood Empire Coach of the Year, North Bay League Coach of the Year, Redwood Empire Coach of the Year and Max Preps Northern California Coach of the Year in 2013; and Petaluma People’s Choice Sports Coach of the Year in 2016-2017.

Herzog was straightforward in his expectations for the St. Vincent football program.

“First and foremost, we want to deliver an exceptional high school experience in the classroom and on the athletic field for our students and their families,” he said. “We anticipate a strong incoming class and to be competitive this year.

“The football program will deliver on our commitment to an overall improvement in men’s athletics. Within three to five years, it is our intention to be recognized as one of the elite programs in the area and compete for section titles. Student athletes from San Rafael to Santa Rosa will aspire to be part of St. Vincent’s community.”

Herzog will continue his job as the Western Region Director of Scouting for National Preps. He will continue in his role of evaluating football prospects for 220 colleges.

Herzog is a strong believer in athletes participating in multiple sports and will encourage St. Vincent athletes to participate in other sports in addition to football.

He also plans to offer summer conditioning programs that include not only football, but speed training and weight lifting.

“Parents can expect a family atmosphere. They will be able to have a direct and personal relationship with me. The entire staff will deliver a genuine commitment to their student,” the new coach said. “There will be an open-door policy for our student athletes, their parents and our alumni. We are going to build this program together.”