Home October 2011 More than the Scoreboard

More than the Scoreboard

“Athletics are important, but what happens between 8 and 3 is more important,” said Danny Herz, Tarbut V’Torah’s (TVT) first schoolwide director of athletics.  “I would love to grow the athletics program to use athletics to help students further their academic endeavors.”
As athletics director, Coach Herz will guide the physical education, interscholastic, intramural and recreation programs of the school.  He plans to add sports teams in the lower school “to get school spirit and pride going,” to cultivate those feelings in the middle school and to have high school scholar athletes serving as role models for the younger students.
“It’s important for high school kids to act as role models, because it has a positive impact on their decision making,” Herz said.  “It’s also important to have students feeling that they’re all part of one campus.
“TVT is delighted to welcome Danny Herz,” said Rabbi Seth Linfield, TVT’s head of school.  “His robust talents and experiences will serve our school and students impeccably.  He is dedicated to the success of our students in athletics and in academics.  I am excited by his strategic vision and look forward to working with him to continue to build the future of athletics at TVT, from kindergarten through graduation.”
Herz, who comes to TVT from the American Heritage School in Plantation, Florida, served as head boys’ basketball coach, director of the basketball program and dean of students for 2,500 students.  Sports Illustrated ranks the American Heritage sports program as among the Top 10 prep programs in the country (along with Mater Dei in Santa Ana and Poly in Long Beach).   Herz has also coached Maccabi entries for more than a decade and has been named head coach of the American entry at the forthcoming Maccabi Pan Am games in Brazil.
As a basketball coach, Herz is known for his work with guards, and every single one of his starting point guards over the course of his head coaching career has moved on to play college basketball.  Among the players that Coach Herz developed at American Heritage was McDonald’s All- American Kenny Boynton.  Under Herz’s leadership, American Heritage was the first school in the state of Florida to play on an ESPN Network, as well as the first school in Broward County to be home to a McDonald’s All-American.  The Patriots were the subject of a season long documentary entitled “The Perfect Rotation” that gave full and unedited access behind the scenes to their program as the cameras followed the team for an entire season.
In addition, Herz created Nothing But Net Basketball Camps, which specialize in skills, drills, fun, laughter and loving the game of basketball.  He plans to offer these camps in Irvine during winter break, spring break, and the summertime.
An educator first, Coach Herz takes great pride in helping his players to obtain college scholarships and playing opportunities.  At American Heritage, he introduced the “Summer Tour,” in which he took the varsity team on a two-week college tour.  This approach has developed strong relationships with college admissions and athletics departments and has helped his players to see and evaluate different schools.  In his last four years at American Heritage, an astounding 16 players have gone on to play basketball while receiving their college education.
“It’s important to note that colleges want the students for both reasons, and we can cultivate that here too,” Herz said.
At TVT, Coach Herz will be working closely with Clint Davis, the director of college guidance (and golf coach), in supporting male and female student-athletes in the college scholarship process.  Herz said, “I am honored to come to TVT at this athletics turning point.  I am inspired by the school’s mission and the collective commitment to the quality and prominence of athletics.  I look forward to working with our students, coaches, and faculty, as we imagine and create together.”
Herz looks forward to “growing kids as athletes,” which he describes as “a powerful thing that provides helpful lessons for later on.”  He cited time management as being so important for teens nowadays.
“A kid needs a home, something bigger than himself, the chance to belong to something,” Herz said.  “The sense of community created by sports is important, because it helps people feel as if they matter to other people.  Being on a team also helps a student to love school, because he gets the feeling that it’s home.  When kids know we care, and they have a sense of belonging, we’ve created a home away from home for them.”
Coach Herz wants to make the TVT athletics program a source of pride to everybody concerned, and former students have offered to help.  The coach’s vision is to “give kids the best opportunity we can and combine it with an outstanding academic program and a big dose of pride.”  So far, seven of 13 freshmen have tried out for basketball.  Coach Herz noted that he wants the team to get “stronger, bigger and faster,” but he enjoys the idea that people are motivated to be on the team.
“There’s more to it than what it says on the scoreboard,” Coach Herz said.  “Relationships with the kids are important.  It’s all about the students.”
For more information on Tarbut V’Torah, a pluralistic Jewish community day school offering a comprehensive K-12 education, with 17 advanced placement courses, 14 varsity athletic teams and more than 20 student organizations for its 600 students, visit www.tarbut.com.

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