It will hardly be a ride off into the sunset kind this weekend for Tyler Herman.
But the Amherst coach will enjoy it just the same.
Herman will lead the six-time defending Class D champions for the last time in Omaha for the three-day state tournament that begins Thursday at the CenturyLink Center.
Herman, nearing the end of his 12th season at the helm of Amherst, accepted the Dean of Students position at Kearney High a week ago, meaning his days as a coach are over.
“This will be special,” Herman said Sunday, a day after his team qualified 12 for the state tournament. “I just want to make sure I enjoy the moment these next couple of weeks.”
Herman thought last year might be his last after earning his master’s degree. But the right situation for his family didn’t come.
The opportunity to stay in Kearney, where he already lives with his wife and three kids, was the “perfect fit.”
He’ll coach for the last time the next weekend in the state dual tournament in his hometown.
“Kind of a grand finale,” Herman said.
If they extend a Class D record for consecutive team titles in Omaha, the top-ranked Broncos will have earned it.
And it will likely be thanks to depth.
Amherst has six in the final ratings, but none inside the top two at any weight.
Second-ranked Burwell and No. 4 Elkhorn Valley, two of the three teams — along with No. 3 Creighton — that are expected to push Amherst, each have two No. 1s.
Herman’s teams have scored more than 185 points in the last four state tournaments, including a Class D record 241.5 in 2014 and 201 last season. He wouldn’t be surprised to see this year’s winner around 110 points.
“Of those top four teams, any of us could win,” Herman said. “It’s going to come down to who is on its ‘A’ game. We may have a little more depth, but those teams have five or six studs that are going to score some points for them.
“It could very well come down to the very last match Saturday afternoon.”
Amherst lost two state champions and two more finalists from a team that finished its high school career with four team titles.
Herman said there were those who wondered how the program would continue without so much experience.
“We lost a lot of firepower,” Herman said. “I think a lot of people were questioning if we could stay on top. It’s had a little bit of a different feel because of that. It’s been fun to go out and prove people wrong.”
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