Herring hired

Oxford head coach Ryan Herring before the Decatur vs Oxford second round AHSAA playoff football game. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

Ryan Herring is the new coach of the Pierce County Bears.

Herring, 43, was hired during a called meeting of the Pierce County Board of Education Friday a few minutes after noon. The decision came after a one hour closed session.

“I am extremely happy and blessed to be back in Pierce County,” Herring said shortly after the hire.

A meet and greet for Coach Herring will take place at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, April 18, at the PCHS Field House. The public is invited.

Herring’s hiring here is a homecoming of sorts for the new coach. He was defensive coordinator for the Bears under then-head coach Craig Davis from 2001-2004.

Herring met his wife, the former Maggie Allen, at new teacher orientation in 2001 as they began as educators here.

The Herrings are the parents of three children, Caroline, 12, David, 9, and Matthew, 8.

During an interview with The Times Monday the new coach said his first day on the job felt “very natural and comfortable.”

“Pierce County is a great community and the kids here are great,” he said. “I started teaching classes today (Monday) and it felt just like I remembered it when I was here.”

Herring said he loved Pierce County as soon as he came here in 2001.

“It was great! I loved it then and it is a place that is very special to me because I met Maggie here,” he said. “We have been back to visit her family and friends often through the years and this is something we always thought we would do if things worked out. God has a plan and His timing is always perfect. I am glad His time is now.”

Herring also said the atmosphere here reminds him of the place where he grew up and where he previously coached, Oxford, AL.

“It’s a good place where we don’t have the problems they have in other places,” he said. “Students are well-mannered here.”

While the coach is already here, his family will wait and move to Pierce County once school is out for the summer.

“It’s a time of transition for all of us and we wanted to make it as smooth as possible for the kids,” he said.

Herring had been mentioned for previous openings for the Bears head coaching position in the past. His name was mentioned early as a possible candidate here immediately following former Coach Jason Strickland’s decision to leave for Ware County two weeks ago.

Herring spent the day Monday teaching classes, getting settled in and implementing his own weight training and strength and conditioning program.

“One of my first priorities is to get the weight training program in place and hire a staff,” he said. “I have some vacancies to fill.”

Several assistant coaches reportedly will be leaving to join Strickland’s staff in Ware County.

Details about the openings were not available Monday.

Herring has been a successful coach in Alabama amassing a 96-52 record in 13 seasons.

Herring has been the head coach of his alma mater, the Oxford, AL High School Yellow Jackets, for the past six seasons. His Dad, Robert, also once coached there and coached Ryan’s team to one of his five state championships. Ryan Herring led the team to a 50-21 record over that span with  back-to-back 10-0 seasons and back-to-back state quarterfinal appearances.

Prior to his years at Oxford, Herring also coached at Shelby County High School and at Lincoln High School. All three schools are in the Birmingham metro area. He has also been an assistant coach at Pike County, Dublin High and Newnan High in addition to Pierce.

Herring is a graduate of the University of North Alabama, where he played as defensive back on a national championship team there