Saturday, February 04, 2023


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Sports Article
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Heinrichs Eager to Return Tribe Football to Prior Success
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            As the new head coach of Upper Perkiomen's football team, Dan Heinrichs claims he won't accept any rationalizations for losses. He says the team has enough talent to be immediately competitive.  "I can't stand excuses," Heinrichs said.

            Last week, the school board ratified him as the new coach. Heinrichs said his

Dan Heinrichs

main objective is to return the program to its previous success.  "I want this team to be able to go toe to toe with any team on its schedule, regardless of its size," said Heinrichs, a 2013 graduate of Upper Perkiomen.

            He succeeds Tom Hontz, who announced his resignation in November after leading the Indians for nine seasons. The district's Interview Committee enthusiastically identified Henirichs as the best of 10 applicants to lead the program, according to information provided by Alexis Jenofsky, a communication specialist. It states that the committee was looking for a candidate who will best support students in the overall learning process, assist the team in succeeding and serve as a positive mentor.

            "Henirichs checked all those boxes," she wrote.

            According to Jenofsky, Heinrichs entered the process – which included five candidates to receive interviews – with knowledge of the program and a strategy to grow and improve the program. She described his goal-oriented mindset, prior knowledge of the importance of academics, and familiarity with the district as an added bonus.

            "I wanted the job because I bleed blue and gold," said Heinrichs, who was interviewed by twice by administrators. "I love this community and am looking forward to building a program everyone can be proud of. They are hungry to see a winner."

            Heinrichs, a science teacher at the high school, spent last year on Hontz's staff. He handled a variety of responsibilities, including coaching the defensive lineman and special teams.  "I did a little bit of everything," Heinrichs said.
            Heinrichs, who turns 28 in February, believes his relative youth will help him relate to the players. He said addressing them from the same locker in which he prepared to play should allow them to develop an unusually strong bond.
            "I'm not that far away from college," Heinrichs said
            A three-year starter for the Indians under Keith Leamer and Steve Moyer, Heinrichs played guard, center, linebacker and long snapper. As a senior, he earned all Pioneer Athletic Conference honors at middle linebacker, recording 94 tackles, recovering three fumbles and intercepting one pass.
            He played four years at Lycoming College, rising to the varsity squad for his junior season. In 2015, Heinrichs appeared in all 10 games at linebacker, finishing with eight solo tackles and 15 overall.
            The following season, he served as a captain and started all 10 games at defensive end for the Warriors. Heinrichs' 37 total tackles were tied for seventh best on the team. The Upper Hanover native – who blocked a kick against King's College, recovered a fumble against Susquehanna and notched a career-high seven tackles in a three-point win over Lebanon Valley College – was named to the Middle Atlantic Conference's Academic Honor Roll.
            Before coming home in the fall of 2021, Heinrichs spent the previous six years as an assistant coach at Montoursville Area High School, located in Lycoming County. He coached the Warriors' defensive line and special teams in four District Four Class 3A title games, celebrating consecutive victories in 2018 and 2019. The current Fleetwood resident also spent one season leading their JV team.

            Heinrichs says he expects the Indians to eventually enjoy similar success. The new head coach plans on creating a winning attitude by instilling a level of discipline and competition.  "We're going to focus on the little things, which will hopefully lead to success in the bigger things," he said. "We're trying to get better every day. The winning will eventually come."

            Attendance at the program's off-season weightlifting program has averaged 18 to 25 players per evening, according to Heinrichs. The team is utilizing a program designed with Keith Gray, a member of St. Luke's Sports Medicine team, who spent nine years as the assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.
            "We're way ahead of the game on this for a new coach," Heinrichs said. "If we struggle next season, it's not going to be due to a lack of stamina or strength."

            In March – as the preseason ramps up – the new coach hopes to make the workouts more interactive by implementing a large variety of non-football activities, tug-of-war, team relays, shuttle runs, tire pulls and flips. According to Heinrichs, the goal is to develop the players' competitive instincts.
            "The mindset is not just a Friday night thing," he said.






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