After 23 consecutive seasons in coaching, the last 13 of those as the Conestoga Valley boys basketball head coach, Brad Herr is stepping away from the sidelines.
“I was thinking about it for quite a while,” Herr said by phone Monday night. “The quarantine period was beneficial for me. It showed me a life without basketball and I liked it. It showed me what I was missing out on for the last 23 years.”
A history teacher at Conestoga Valley High School, Herr recently informed the school he will be stepping down as coach.
“It’s time to reset my priorities,” he said. “I’ve been making too many compromises to my health and family and overall well-being for too long. I wasn’t giving to the job as much as it was taking from me.”
Herr’s CV teams went a combined 121-171, highlighted by two Lancaster-Lebanon League section crowns (2008, 2015), one L-L tournament championship (2009), four L-L tournament appearances and four district playoff berths. His last plus-.500 squad was the 2016 team that overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to push McCaskey to overtime in a District 3-4A first-round loss.
“I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built with a lot of the players and coaches and our program,” Herr said. “I never put a lot of stock in wins and losses because there are certain things we as coaches can’t control. But more than anything I strived for was to make sure we were a better team at the end of the season than we were at the beginning.”
Herr, 42, is a Lock Haven native who got his coaching start as an assistant at Penns Valley in District Six, with future assistant stops at Central Dauphin East and Garden Spot before landing the head job at CV. He was tasked with following longtime Buckskins’ skipper Bob Borden, who won more than 300 games in 25 seasons at the helm. But Herr said he didn’t feel any pressure to fill Borden’s shoes.
“Bob was extremely supportive. He ended up being in our junior high program for a number of years,” Herr said. “He wanted nothing but the best for the kids and the program. I had a lot of support from Bob and the initial guys.”
Herr’s fingerprints have since been felt elsewhere, as Jon Shultz was a CV assistant for eight years under Herr before becoming the Lancaster Country Day coach two years ago and leading the Cougars to the District 3-1A crown in 2019. Herr’s staff the last few seasons also included assistant Amy MacDonald, the former Buckskins’ girls hoopster who was the starting point guard on the 1996 District 3-4A championship squad.
“To the best of my knowledge, she may have been the only female on a coaching staff of a boys team in the league,” Herr said.
He left open the possibility of returning as an assistant in a few years. But for now he wants to spend more time with his wife, go hunting with his father, and use his motorcycle and boat more often.
“I want to give a lot of credit to the players I had who showed up and worked hard every day and gave their best effort,” Herr said. “They provided a lot of important moments in my life. This was an extremely difficult decision. I had a very hard time walking away. For my own sanity, it’s time to take a break from it.”
Herr's departure put the number of L-L boys basketball coaching vacancies at three. Ephrata and Elizabethtown are still searching for their next coaches.