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South Pointe High School
Rock Hill

South Pointe’s Herron thriving in hometown

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Rock HillSouth Pointe head coach Strait Herron has a saying for his players: “Do your best, do what’s best, and let God take care of the rest.”

He has been very blessed during his seven years in charge of the Stallions, winning five state championships over that time.  However, it was a long, winding journey that got him there. 

South Pointe, where he was an assistant for five years before being promoted, is Herron’s lone head coaching job on his resume.  Amazingly enough, after being turned down for jobs more than a dozen times, he nearly left the profession completely.  Instead, he is thriving in his hometown.

“Coach (Bobby) Carroll did a great job setting the foundation, but I believe I’ve reached the kids in a different way,” said Herron.  “Our guys always play hard, but when you make a connection with a kid, he’ll go out there and give even more.  That would be the one thing I would say has taken our program to a little higher level.”

That level has shown unprecedented success.  South Pointe has won four consecutive titles, and Herron was named the National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.  Even so, some fans still have a championship-or-bust mentality.

“The only pressure I feel is what I put on myself.  I’ve actually gotten better handling it than when I first started.  Every year is a challenge.  Even coaches who have won a lot may not have as many state championships as the fans would like.  The average person does not realize how hard it is to get to the state championship, much less when it.  To win four in a row has been incredible.  It’s beyond comprehension to me how we’ve been able to stay at that level,” Herron said.

The former Northwestern High graduate coached at A.C. Flora and Strom Thurmond during college before returning home as a Rock Hill High assistant for three seasons. 

Nearly a decade later he was back coaching at his alma mater and eventually transferred six miles down the road to help Carroll start the South Pointe varsity program.  Five years later, he was handed the keys to the program, but he hopes he will be remembered for more than just winning football games.

“It certainly turned out better than what I even expected,” said Herron.  “To become a head coach in this town was truly a blessing.  I had no idea it would turn out the way it has.

“I truly do not care if anybody says I was a great football coach.  When people talk about me once I’m out of football, I want them to say that I was a worker, a go-getter, that I was fair and honest, and that I was hard to beat.  I want our players to have people say the same things about them.”

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