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Heard steps down as Crater’s coach

David Heard is stepping down as the Crater girls basketball head coach — again.

Heard, also the school’s athletic director, coached the Comets for four years in his latest stint, one that coincided with his daughter, Mallory’s, tenure in the program.

Crater recently placed sixth in the Class 5A state tournament, a level of success not uncommon under Heard dating to the mid-1990s.

With him at the helm for the 1995-02 seasons, the Comets’ winning ways were unrivaled in southern Oregon. His first team struggled, then in the next seven years, Crater was 154-32 overall, for an .828 winning percentage, and finished second in the state’s top classification, 4A, three times.

The Comets won six Southern Oregon Conference titles in that period, going 94-10 (.904).

He resigned but returned in 2005-06 for an interim season, when Crater was 17-8 overall and 9-5 in league.

This season, Crater placed second in the Midwestern League at 10-4 and ended up 22-6. Heard was 79-28 overall and 33-17 in league for the four years.

Mallory Heard completed her senior season and will next play at Southern Oregon University.

“One of the main reasons (for retiring) is I really want to be able to follow Mallory at SOU,” said Heard, who coached another daughter, Monica, and a niece, Becca, in recent seasons. “She’s my youngest and the kids will be gone. The other thing is, I just feel like I’m spread too thin. The program needs someone with more time and energy to make it better.”

By stepping aside, Heard — whose career record counting the interim season is 255-85 — has made more work for himself.

Already in the process of hiring a football coach following John Beck’s recent resignation, Heard now must replace himself. Tentative time frames to fill the spots are the end of next week for a football coach and early April for a girls basketball coach.

Whomever the latter is, he or she will find a program in good shape.

The Comets’ junior varsity team was 21-2, said Heard. The JV2 team was 18-0 and rarely threatened, he said. Further, the Junior Comets AAU program has been stable for years.

“I think things are set up really nicely for someone to come in and take it further,” he said.

Among Heard’s joys, he said, was taking players to the state tournament for the first time and witnessing their reactions as they encountered the atmosphere.

When Heard retired in 2002, he worked at Scenic Middle School and lost contact with some of the players. He was the principal there prior to accepting the Crater AD and coaching positions in the spring of 2013.

“That’s what you really miss, being with the athletes and kids,” he said. “I missed that the first time around and don’t think I’ll miss it this time. I’ll be in contact with them still and will be their biggest fan. I’ll do whatever I can to help them out.”

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com