School fires football coach

April 4, 2008 — by Rahul Thakker

This story originally appeared in the April 4, 2008 edition of The Saratoga Falcon.

Despite winning seven of 10 regular season games and advancing to the CCS semifinals this year, the varsity football team will have a new coach when it plays again next fall. Kurt Heinrich will be leaving after 11 years as Saratoga’s head coach.

Principal Jeff Anderson said the decision had nothing to do with Heinrich’s performance. Instead, it was simply an opportunity for the administration to find an on-campus coach for the Falcons.

“I think it’s important to have the leader of the football program be somebody on campus who can see the kids a lot and be in touch with the kids all of the time,” said Anderson. “This year there is a physical education job open and to have a football coach/PE teacher is the best way to fill that spot.”

Because Heinrich worked at a job outside of the school and coached on the side, the administration feels the move is in the best interests of the school, but many football players disagree. Support for Heinrich is so strong that over 150 students have joined a Facebook group to keep him as coach. Junior Mat Spencer, who has played under Heinrich for the past two years, said the school is making the wrong choice.

“I don’t really know all the facts behind the reasoning, but all in all I think [firing Heinrich] was a really foolish decision no matter what the cause was,” said Spencer. “I think [the administration is] making a huge mistake because it’s coming right after a year where we got to the semifinals of CCS and right in the year where we’re moving up into one of the hardest leagues in the region.”

Spencer also said that the administration’s decision was a bad one because Heinrich was a great mentor both on and off the football field.

“Coach Heinrich had the greatest personality you could ask for in a coach,” said Spencer. “You could talk to him about stuff other than football and he’d give you advice and help you out with whatever you needed. It was like you had a brother on the team and he was coaching.”

Heinrich said that even if he is able to find another coaching job in the near future, he will miss all of his players and will never forget his time at Saratoga High.

“Being involved with Saratoga High School over the 11 to 12 years I was there has changed me forever,” said Heinrich in an e-mail. “Being aligned with these young men at such a wonderful period in their lives is a blessing and I am a better man for it. It is a special place and I will miss it very much. I love our kids, always have and always will.” ◆

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