From Student to Teacher: Coach Herbert shares challenges, inspires others

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From Student to Teacher: Coach Herbert shares challenges, inspires others

Laura Perich, Reporter

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Throughout high school, you meet various people and teachers who will change the way you look at life.

There are teachers who are focused on battling through the day and getting the year over with, and there are teachers who genuinely care about you and your future. Coach Bill Herbert is one of these teachers who will go to extreme limits to see you walk across that stage and is eager to see you succeed.

Herbert attended Morton Ranch High School from 2007 to 2011. He was on the basketball team all four years of his high school career where he started on JV as a freshman and finished his other years on varsity.

“There were 12 seniors, and I wasn’t going to get any playing time at first,” he said. “I was still a freshman getting used to the program, so they put me on JV and told me that I needed to earn my spot. I didn’t start the first few games but then, I ended up starting for the rest of the season as a freshman.”

Coach Herbert was very successful with his basketball career throughout high school, and he made many great and sad memories that shaped his life in many ways.

“Seven Lakes used to be our rival, because especially for me, Seven Lakes was the program to beat at the time,” Herbert said. “I grew up playing AU Summer Ball against all of these people, so I knew them since like 4th grade. We always tried to beat each other.”

He said during their senior year Morton Ranch finally beat them.

“There was a buzzer beater shot that had they put up would’ve won them the game,” Herbert said. “To finally get that win after not having a win off of them my entire four years, that was probably the sweetest moment other than making the playoffs and achieving school history with our 30 to 6 record.”

After leaving the Ranch, Coach Herbert attended the University of Texas at Austin and considers himself a “big science nerd”. He majored in kinesiology and exercise science and was also a pre-med and pre-physical therapy.

Coach Herbert wanted to attend medical school but decided at the end of college that it wasn’t exactly the path he wanted to follow. Now, Coach Herbert has aspirations to go to physical therapy school.

Herbert came back to the Ranch around March 2016. He first worked as a long-term sub for Aquatic Science. The last six weeks of his class he created his own curriculum and dissected starfish and  sharks. He then taught Chemistry for two years and was very excited to teach that course, because it is his favorite science. He coincidentally ended up teaching in his old AP chemistry classroom, which was weird for him at first. Now, Coach Herbert teaches Anatomy and Physiology.

“I’m very happy,” he added. “It’s what I wanted to teach when I came back, especially to help me get ready for physical therapy school. So, I’m really excited about that.”

Coach Herbert is planning to go back to school as soon as possible, but ideally he would like to continue his education in the next three to five years.

Herbert has coached girls volleyball and boys basketball. Prior to coaching, he personally trained others. He hadn’t formally coached his own team until he came back to MRHS. Last year was his first year coaching basketball, but this year is his first full year coaching the basketball team.

As a kid, Herbert wanted to invest his life into teaching, but as a teenager his dream was to play on a Division I college basketball team. Unfortunately, his injuries prevented him from fulfilling his dreams.

“I had no intentions of coming back to Morton Ranch whatsoever,” Herbert explained. “I literally was like ‘I’m out these doors forever, peace out.’ My only thought was ‘I want to play D1 college basketball’. Everything I worked for was for that, but that completely changed the June right before my junior year of highschool. I had a lot of stuff going down that summer.”

Sadly his dreams couldn’t be accomplished due to his injuries. Herbert endured a bad foot and ankle injury that ruined the recruiting process.

“I was at my peak performance, which is great going into your junior year,” Herbert said. “I was averaging over 20 points a game. I was averaging triple-double basically. But then I couldn’t walk for about a month or so, couldn’t really get on the court for more than 15 minutes at a time. All my scouts said ‘bye’, so it ruined everything, everything I worked for was ruined.”

Even though an injury might seem discouraging, Coach Herbert didn’t give up and re-evaluated his life after he knew he could no longer continue his sport.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he added. “I was just like, ‘I’m going to college’, because that’s all my mom ever told me: ‘You’re going to go to college. You’re going to go on a scholarship. You’re going to earn it, and you’re going to work hard’.”

The decision didn’t come easy for him. It wasn’t until his second year in college that he devised more of a plan, and although Herbert didn’t get to play for a Division I college team, he did get to participate in the intramural team and played volleyball.

Other his lifetime, Herbert has sustained a series of injuries, including spraining both of his ankles five times each, jamming all of his fingers multiple times, bones fractured, a tarsal coalition, five bone spurs on his right foot, three to four on his left foot, a lot of grinding of his bones, plenty of head injuries, his eyebrow split open end-to-end (25 stitches) and eight staples on his head.

His most fatal injury was when he was in college and almost died in a horrific car accident.

“I was driving home from Dallas, and going to Austin is like a long highway straight-shot,” Herbert explained. “Usually when the tread is about to pop off, the car starts rattling a lot, because the tread is uneven. I’m going about 75 on the highway, because that’s the speed limit. However, it’s only a two-lane highway from Dallas to Austin in many parts. There are no shoulders. There is nowhere for me to pull over on the next exit. My car starts shaking, and I’m like, ‘I need to get over to the right lane, but I can’t exit for another two to five miles’. Then, the car in front of me is break-checking, and they almost made me hit their rear-end. I was like, ‘I got to get around him’. As I pulled around, my back left tire blew out. Completely. I’m going 75 miles [er hour on the freeway, so my car starts swerving like all over. I don’t know how I didn’t hit a car at all, but I didn’t.”

The last thing Herbert remembers is his car spinning around getting a view of the other people next to him. His car rolled around a couple of times, and by the first few times his neck and shoulder slammed on top of the car. He ended up rolling on the grass on the other side of the feeder road.

Herbert was later taken to the hospital by an ambulance. The doctor told Herbert that because of his conditions he could’ve died, but thankfully he survived. This accident gave Herbert a new perspective in his life.

“Anytime, even if I don’t really know you that well, if we are saying bye and you’re about to leave, I always tell people to drive safe,” he said. “Because I would never wish that on anyone.”

In spite of the journey that lead him back to the Ranch, Herbert has a positive outlook on his role here and what it means for him to be invested in his job and his students.

For the first couple of months, Herbert felt awkward, not because he didn’t want to return but because of teaching younger siblings of the students that he went to school with and things like that. Then he realized that even though it can be awkward at times, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in Katy.

“I’ve literally been through their shoes,” he explained. “I know what goes on in and out of this school; it is what it is. I understand it. I think that it kind of gives me an advantage over most teachers, because I’m not just looking at you as a high school kid.”

“I literally was in your shoes; I walked these halls,” Herbert continued. “We have a whole set of issues that no other school deals with, and I don’t think many people pay attention to that. I think it’s overlooked by a lot of people. I think we’re just dubbed as the ‘ghetto school’ in Katy for whatever reason.”

Coach Herbert is very appreciative of his school and staff and how diverse it is. He loves MRHS and is proud to represent it as an alumnus and a teacher.

“I’ve had my own issues watching my parents deal with racism and different kinds of cultural discrimination,” he explained. “Of course, it will happen anywhere, but it’s so diverse here and people are so open and one of the best things is the staff here. You don’t know everyone personally, but it’s so much of a family environment, a family setting. There’s a lot of people that might be in teaching for just the check. But there are a lot of people here, including myself, that truly care for the kids and care for their well-being.”

Herbert said that he loves being able to remind people lessons that he learned between high school and now. As an adult, he said he likes to share things he wish he would’ve known.

“I’m able to put that under a perspective, so hopefully you don’t have to take so long to learn that lesson,” Herbert said. “I think that’s the most rewarding part for me.”

Furthermore, he said he wants to be the teacher he wanted when he was in high school.

“There were teachers that did certain things or acted certain ways, and I’m just like ‘I never want to be like that’,” he explained. “I can still be an adult and have fun, but at the same time compartmentalize and take care of my responsibilities. Show you that you can still be you and grow up and mature a little bit. I guess that’s why I like being here, because I don’t feel like I would be able to have the same effect on another campus.”

As most of you know, Coach Herbert dressed up as Tina Belcher from the famous animated TV show “Bob’s Burgers”. He was recorded by a student, which was then posted on Twitter, dancing like the character. Later on, the video went viral and was on everyone’s social media.

“It’s really cool; actually, it’s great,” he said. “But still at this moment, I don’t know how to process that. I’m just like ‘three seconds of my life now has 6 million views’. The only way this could be better if is I got on ‘Ellen’.”

Herbert wanted to emphasize the fact that he is goofy and wants the students to know that they will have a good time in his room. He loves MRHS and wants every Mav to have a great experience here.

“We all go through things,” Herbert said. “There are two things I pretty much live by: Keep your head up and keep going. Secondly, it can always be worse than what it is.”

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