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Principal: 'Nothing has changed' in Riverside coaching situation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Riverside seems set to let Chad Metten finish out the season as boys basketball coach, including Tuesday's Class AAA regional showdown at Woodrow Wilson.

School Principal Valery Harper said Saturday that an upcoming hearing will determine the fate of head coach Dusty Herscher, but she didn't know when the hearing would be held.

Metten, who took over as interim coach following a Feb. 7 game against Woodrow, has guided the squad the last four games in the wake of suspensions to Herscher and most of his staff.

Herscher, a second-year coach, was taken off the job just before that Feb. 7 game, and replaced temporarily by Scott Garretson, the Warriors' girls coach and Danny Hill, himself a former interim boys coach at Riverside and football assistant.

Metten, a second-year assistant, was permitted to return to the bench for practices and games shortly after the Feb. 7 contest.

No one has given specific reasons for disciplinary action against Herscher, but the Warriors did forfeit a Jan. 30 win against Parkersburg for use of an ineligible player. According to published reports, Herscher's staff encouraged players to lie about that incident if they were asked.

Harper said the hearing would involve personnel from the Kanawha County Schools main office, including Superintendent Ron Duerring.

"We're in the same place right now that we were from the very beginning,'' Harper said. "We've received no date as to when they'll hold the hearing downtown with the personnel down there. I have no specific information. I'm fairly new - 21/2 years at this job - and this is the first time I've been involved in something like this.''

Harper was asked if there was still a chance Herscher could be reinstated, or if Duerring would consider her recommendations in the case.

"I really don't know,'' she said. "It's a personnel matter at this point, and I can't comment. Nothing has changed from the first week that everything happened. We're still waiting to hear from the office downtown.''

Since Herscher's suspension, Riverside's players have worn T-shirts for pregame shootarounds that bear the hand-written message: "Free Dusty.''

Harper was asked about her reaction to those T-shirts.

"They've been wearing them for some time now,'' she said. "I think the boys are in a tough position. They love basketball and they love playing basketball. They've developed relationships with their coaches and some of our kids are hurting right now, wondering what's going to happen next. I really don't look into too much detail about that. I just look forward so that we continue on.''

Metten, meanwhile, has coached the team to a 2-2 record since taking over, including last week's upset of state-ranked George Washington in the sectionals. The Warriors are now 9-15 overall, including the forfeit loss to Parkersburg.

"With everything going on, it's all up in the air about who's coming back and who's doing this or that,'' Metten said. "I've got to give the kids credit. They've busted their butts the last two weeks since I've been back. With everything going on, a lot of other kids I know wouldn't have done that - fought through it. They've stayed together, stayed positive.

"Of course, they get a little angry, because they're competitive. They're human. I admire them sticking together as a group and staying behind me coming in pretty much by myself. That's all I ask of them. Coach Garretson's there to help, but it's tough without everybody here.''

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.


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