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Humbert bolts Ringgold for BVA

| Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, 12:36 a.m.
Ringgold’s Head coach Matt Humbert at camp. S.C.Spangler | For The Tribune-Review
Ringgold head coach, Matt Humbert. Jim Ference | The Valley Independent

Matt Humbert endured three weeks of sleepless nights before ultimately obtaining his dream scenario.

On Monday, Humbert was hired as head football coach at Belle Vernon Area while landing a full-time teaching position with the district.

He will resign as Ringgold's football coach after four years at the helm.

“My goal from day one was to teach and coach in the same district,” Humbert said. “Even when you lose three weeks of sleep over this and you're thinking of so many things, this is an opportunity I just can't pass up.”

Humbert said accepting the BVA offer was “agonizing”. He planned on addressing his former players Tuesday, including standout quarterback Nico Law.

“I'm sick to my stomach leaving my quarterback who I mentored for so long and thinking of the kids being disappointed in me and feeling I left them. Any coach is going to say that, but I truly mean it,” Humbert said.

“There's a lot of people who would question my decision to come here with the type of kids we have coming back (at Ringgold next year). ... The one thing I do feel comfortable about is leaving the program better off than when I started.”

Humbert compiled a 30-13 record at Ringgold, including two games as interim head coach before he was hired in June 2010. He has one year remaining on his contract.

The BVA football contract will be on a year-by-year basis, he said.

Sherrie Garry, Ringgold school board member and chairperson of athletics, referred questions to Ringgold Athletic Director Ron McMichael.

“I'm certainly happy for Matt, but we're certainly going to miss him. He's meant a lot to our school, our district and our community,” McMichael said via phone Monday night. “Matt has tried to bring consistency to our program for the past four years. I think that's the important thing to remember.”

At Belle Vernon Area, Humbert replaces Aaron Krepps, who resigned Nov. 14 after collecting a 22-28 record in five seasons at his alma mater.

Humbert credited BVA superintendent Dr. John Wilkinson with luring him in.

“He truly has a vision, it's academic, it's athletic and I think, under his tutelage, everything will remedy itself here,” Humbert said. “There wasn't really anything pushing me out of Ringgold. It was more there were things pulling me toward this program.”

With Humbert seated in the front row of Monday's school board meeting, board vice president John Nusser Jr. lauded the new hire. Humbert was one of seven candidates for the position, Nusser said.

“Throughout the process he was the most articulate and knowledgeable coach that we could possibly hope to find here,” Nusser said. “We're looking forward to many years of great success and to bring Belle Vernon Area back to where we were years ago.”

Humbert was also hired as a high school teacher for the 2014-2015 school year at seventh-step master's degree salary of $63,172 by a 6-3 vote.

Approving the hire were Aaron Bialon, Dan Sepesky, Joe Grata, Kimberly Ringstad Gray, Ron Sotta and Nusser. Toni Jo Kunka, Cathy Chalfant Michener and Ed Naylor opposed the hire.

Naylor said afterward he prefers the board hire teachers later in the spring when retirements become official and that he did not want the board to set a precedent. He spoke shortly with Humbert after the meeting.

“I want him here, it's just the wrong timing,” Naylor said.

Humbert, who currently teaches eighth grade in the Bentworth school district, said it was uncertain when he will be able to leave his current teaching job.

He will eventually join his wife, Kimberly, who teaches both high school and elementary level at BVA. The couple currently resides in Finleyville.

Humbert said he hopes to start spring conditioning by the middle of March.

“I want to start as soon as I can ... if it was up to me, I'd start yesterday,” Humbert said, a smile starting to show. “It's such a bittersweet feeling, but it's a great opportunity and challenge to try and build something up here. I've got 90 percent of my coaching staff willing to come on board, too, and that helped out a lot with my decision.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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