BELL CITY -- It was no easy decision, but David Heeb's love of his alma mater outweighed all else as he chose to accept the vacant head coach position at Scott County Central.
"It was an opportunity to go home," said Heeb, a former Brave player. "It's such a source of pride for me to think that I can get the program back to a level where we're feared throughout the state and to think that I can give something back to Coach (Ronnie) Cookson, Larry Mosley, the Porters, the Johnsons and the Timmons, all the people who helped build the program to the level it's at.
"Those people did so much for me. I wouldn't be coaching today or have the love for the game that I have if it wasn't for people like that."
Although he's been a head coach for only five years, Heeb's coaching success speaks for itself.
He turned around a mediocre Bell City program, taking them to Class 1 state championships in the '01-'02 and '03-'04 seasons. The Cubs finished fourth in state in the season just concluded. His career record at Bell City was a stellar 119-37.
Heeb inherits a solid program.
Under Scott County Central alumnus Melvin Porter, the Braves posted a 20-10 record, losing in the state sectional round to Bell City.
"I think I'm so lucky to be able to come in behind a guy like Melvin Porter, who has the same love for Scott Central that I do," Heeb said. "He brought the pride back and those kids are really focused on winning championships again, probably for the first time since coach (Ronnie) Cookson left.
"It's probably going to be the easiest transition that any coach at Scott Central has ever had, including coach Cookson, because a lot of the footwork is out of the way because of the job that he (Porter) did."
Is it possible to duplicate or extend the legacy of coaching legend Ronnie Cookson who won a record 12 state titles at Scott Central in the present-day environment?
Said Heeb, "We're sure going to try. Nobody's going to put more pressure on me than I put on myself. The run we've had at Bell City the last four years is something that would have been called impossible five years ago. I don't think anything is impossible, but those are big shoes to fill. Hopefully, I've got an army of kids out there that are ready to work. No doubt, the talent's there.
"I'm really looking forward to tackling this head-on."
Heeb said it was no easy task to inform the Bell City players of his decision.
"It was tough to tell those kids that I was leaving because we've done so many good things together," he said. "All of those kids have come up through my program. We've got a real family-type atmosphere and there were some emotions on their side and my side.
"It was tough, but they're in good shape for the future and I feel real good knowing that whoever comes in next is going get a program that's in good shape."