Dawson County Basketball Coach Eric Herrick spent his first season with the high school last season, coaching the Tigers to a region championship.
With that win under his belt, this year Herrick transitioned back to coaching ladies basketball, where he has spent the majority of his career. He spent the prior eight seasons coaching the North Forsyth Lady Raiders, where he led them to seven state playoff appearances.
However, according to Herrick, coaching basketball has not been a lifelong love for him. After growing up in Florida, Herrick didn’t start his basketball career until he moved to Gainesville, Georgia in the eighth grade, and only started because his new friends played too.
When Herrick finally realized that, not only did he love basketball, but he was good at it, playing in college became something he could consider.
“Honestly for me, it was the only way to get to college,” Herrick said. “My father really wasn’t in the picture, so my coaches were the ones that looked after me a lot of times."
After graduation, Herrick signed on to play basketball at Berry College in Rome. Though after one year, Herrick left to join the Air Force.
“I was a punk kid,” Herrick said. “I was always into something. I had a chip on my shoulder and it was obvious. I wanted to play after high school but didn’t really want to be a student.”
Herrick spent four years with the Air Force, maturing and figuring things out about himself. While enlisted, He discovered what he wanted to do with his life, to teach and coach basketball.
His first year back to continue his basketball career at Berry, Herrick barely played, which motivated him to get into the best shape of his life.
The next two years resulted in Herrick being awarded back-to-back appearances on the All-Conference team.
“I truly loved every day of college,” Herrick said. “The road trips were some of the greatest memories I have. It was tough sometimes after getting home from a long road trip and then having an 8 a.m. class. However, I would not trade it for anything in the world.”
Coaching did not come easily for Herrick either. His first season out of college, he only won one game out of 23 games played. Herrick said he worked harder that year than any other year in his career.
Herrick showed it by never having recorded another losing season in his coaching career. Herrick’s successes include 3 final four appearance and region championships with three separate programs.
Even with the accolades, Herrick considers his biggest success the players he’s coached and watching them turn into successful young men and women.
“I stole a hashtag from another coach: #LivingTrophies,” Herrick said. “The doctors, lawyers, teachers, Valedictorians, Military officers...those are the real successes.”