CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Riverside boys basketball coach Dusty Herscher and his staff have been reinstated following a Thursday meeting of Kanawha County school officials.Herscher, a second-year coach, and assistants Matt Kelly and Pat Jones were suspended prior to a Feb. 7 home game against Woodrow Wilson.Scott Garretson, the Warriors' girls coach, guided the team for two games and Chad Metten, a coach at McKinley Middle School, finished out the final four games."Anytime a coach is away from his team, it's hard for both sides,'' Herscher said Thursday evening. "I've talked to a lot of the kids, and they're happy. There are two sides to every story. That's how life is.''
No one has given specific reasons for disciplinary action against Herscher, but the Warriors did forfeit a Jan. 30 win against Parkersburg for use of an ineligible player. According to published reports, Herscher's staff encouraged players to lie about that incident if they were asked.Herscher, though glad to be reinstated, realizes his program now has some catching up to do, as deadlines have already passed for spring basketball tournaments and some summer camps his players might have attended."That puts us behind where we wanted to be,'' Herscher said. "Last year we played in 60 or 70 games over the summer, and it's going to be difficult to get in half as many this summer. We'll start the [SSAC-approved] three-week summer practice period behind everybody else.''
Riverside did make some strides despite the uncertainty involving its coaches.The Warriors won 10 games on the court, although the forfeit reduced their final record to 9-16. They hadn't reached double figures in wins since 2005-06 (and haven't posted a winning season since 2002-03).They also knocked off state-ranked George Washington in the sectionals and played in a regional game against Woodrow Wilson, losing 79-61 to the eventual Class AAA state runner-up."We're moving in the right direction,'' said Herscher, who remained in his teaching position at the high school throughout the coaching suspension. "You set goals each year, and we reached just about all of ours. [By remaining as coach] we get to implement our work ethic. If coaches are gone after one year, you can't do that.''Riverside Principal Valery Harper did not immediately return a call from the Gazette seeking comment.Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.