Whether it’s on the basketball court, in the classroom, or out on the track, Donnie Herneisen puts in extra effort in his coaching and teaching. With 13 years as a head track coach, and 9 years as a basketball coach, he has a lot of experience under his belt. His success as a coach was shown through last year’s Track and Field State Championships. For the first time ever at HRVHS, the mens track team won the 5A state championships.
Obviously this was a big accomplishment for Herneisen. “Who doesn’t want a championship team?” he says, laughing. Sadly, his track coach years came to an end last season. His love for sports and high schoolers is passionate, because he’s now the girls basketball head coach. On top of all of this, he teaches Intro to Law, Sports Psychology, and US History. His orderly personality helps manage all of his responsibilities.
Varsity basketball player Nia Lopez has a big role on the girls basketball team, and knows Herneisen well as a coach. “He sets goals,” Lopez says. “He tells us what he wants, and explains how to get it done. Then it is up to us to execute.” Her teammate Emily Curtis also agreed with this description. Curtis not only has him as a coach, but a teacher as well. “When I’m in the classroom I am driven to put in the effort, just like I am on the court. He makes hard work become a habit, and that is why he is a good coach, and a good teacher.”
This style of motivation was also present on the track. Many track athletes (including the championship team captain, Parker Kennedy) described him as very precise and detailed. Obviously these are important traits when you’re a coach, teacher, father, and husband. As you would expect, life could become a little unorganized in a situation like this. Teacher and co-track coach, Shawn Meyle called him “an organization wiz!” After coaching along Donnie’s side for multiple years, Meyle knows him well. Another close friend of his is Steve Noteboom. Noteboom coaches the girls freshmen basketball team and is also a teacher at HRVHS. They have known each other since 2006. “Not only is he knowledgeable in track, and in the classroom, but in basketball as well.”
Herneisen’s preparation for games helps the girls stay focused on what they’re trying to accomplish. So far this season they are 6-7 for wins and losses, but they have had some tough competition. With the strength of Herneisen’s coaching and the girl’s hard work, the season will have a positive outlook. “I’m impressed with the way he works with the girls and gets them to work hard in practice, and focused in games,” says Noteboom. Herneisen said himself that basketball is the most fun to coach. He likes to be involved in the games, rather than watching the athletes compete on their own, as they would in track.
Hopefully the detail oriented skills that he possesses will be passed down to new track coach Brandon Bertram this year. All of the home meets and events that took place last year would fall apart without the spreadsheets and to-do lists that Herneisen made, days before. Although basketball is preferred, maybe it is possible that he will make a come back on the track.
Many students will walk past the classroom of Mr. Herneisen, and think that he is just another normal teacher. Athletes from an opposing team could view him as a normal coach. People walking down the street might think of him as an average person, but in reality Donnie Herneisen is a knowledgeable mentor, coach, and teacher, who is anything but average.
By: Katie Kennedy, Talon Staff Reporter