JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - This fall, there will be a new team of leaders hitting the field when the Friday night lights fire up in Jeffersonville.
The new leaders taking on the Red Devils this fall are finding deeper meaning in their new roles, while breaking barriers as a team.
With football season fast approaching, the team will soon hit the field with their new head coach, Isaac Parker, at the helm.
Playing football himself in high school and through college, Parker eventually traded his jersey for a badge, joining the Jeffersonville Police Department.
“When I stopped playing and started being a police officer in Jeffersonville, I started coaching, getting involved,” Parker said.
The detective was named as Jeffersonville’s head coach in June. He’ll lead the team he used to play for, a position with a lot of meaning for Parker.
“It was emotional at first, I contacted my wife and then my parents, let them know,” Parker said. “I went from just that pure excitement, to a little bit of anxiety and I’ve pretty much lived with that over the last month.”
Parker decided to ask the school’s track and field coach, Ericka Herd, to help with the football team, too. He found her personality, energy and drive to win a perfect fit for the team.
“(It’s) a great opportunity to continue sowing into the students here at Jeff,” Herd said.
Teaching freshman English at Jeffersonville High and coaching for nine years now, Herd said her interest in coaching started early with a little inspiration from home.
“My dad was also a college football coach," she explained. "So I think, being around him, I kind of got that coaching bug.”
Herd has coached track and field for years now, helping athletes succeed at a number of different schools in the area. But working on the football team, she said, just feels different.
“Being Coach Herd was always special from a track and field standpoint," she said. “But now, being Coach Herd from a football standpoint, just like my father, is just amazing.”
Herd will serve as the school’s first woman to be a football coach, a title that brings both excitement and some nerves.
“I think there’s always going to be challenges when you’re the first, but you have an opportunity to set the stage, so I’m up for the challenge,” Herd said. “I’m excited about it.”
With their first game against Fern Creek less than two months away, Parker said the team has been doing conditioning work, but they’ll still need plenty of practice. Parker said he’s ready to see what the Red Devils can do.
”We’re going to measure success by the quality of young men we release into the community,” Parker said. “And with the dedication, determination and the desire, I have no doubts that you’ll see wins on Friday nights.”