Southwestern Oregon Community College didn't go far to find its new athletic director.
Women's basketball coach Mike Herbert will take over the post when longtime AD John Speasl retires at the end of June.
"I'm very excited," Herbert said Monday. "I'm excited about the challenge. I'm excited about trying to continue what John has already done, keep things going in the positive direction. I'm excited about working with the staff. The coaching staff is incredible.
"I think I'm excited about learning something new, too."
Speasl has been the athletic director for 25 years and been at the school for 38. He first coached the wrestling team and added the volleyball team 32 years ago, coaching both wrestling and volleyball for eight years before focusing exclusively on the latter sport.
Among Herbert's first duties will be helping choose Speasl's successor as volleyball coach. Southwestern also must hire new women's soccer and cheer/dance coaches.
Herbert has turned the women's basketball program around in three seasons, this year leading the Lakers to the NWAACC tournament for the first time in years.
He'll continue coaching the team, but likely will step away from the classroom, except for one or two classes a year, giving up another thing he loves.
"I really enjoy teaching, but I'm excited abut doing something new in administration and learning how that works," he said.
Herbert most recently has been an instructor for wellness for life, introduction to health and PE (for future teachers), sociology of sport and theory of coaching, a new program that started this term.
Speasl applauded the choice of Herbert for the AD position.
"He's a real organized guy," Speasl said. "He's got a lot of energy. He's interested in everybody's program. He's just going to be a good choice."
He added that Herbert has an extensive education background, which is a plus.
Herbert got his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Sonoma State University in California and later got a master's degree in the same field, with an emphasis on teaching and coaching, from Humboldt State University. He also holds a doctorate in health and physical education, with a minor in educational psychology, from the University of New Mexico.
"He's a really intelligent guy," Speasl said, adding that choosing someone familiar with the college's athletic program should make for a smooth transition.
"He's a known quantity," Speasl said. "I think he's probably a good choice with all the other people on board."
Herbert said Speasl has set a good example to follow.
"Things are going so well," he said. "Things are working. He's put together a good staff. He has handbooks and guidelines in place where I'm not going to have to reinvent the wheel or do things incredible to get things back on track because everything is where it needs to be."
Herbert also enjoys all his fellow coaches and employees in the department.
"The staff is incredible and self-motivated and driven," he said. "It's going to be exciting to work with them more closely on a day-to-day basis."
Herbert is married to one of Southwestern's other head coaches, softball coach Megan Corriea, but said there will not be a conflict of interest because she will have a different supervisor.
"We're both very professional," he said. "I think if it was going to be an issue, I wouldn't have been hired."
Southwestern offers an extensive athletic program with men's and women's soccer teams, volleyball and cross country in the fall; men's and women's basketball, wrestling and cheer/dance in the winter; and softball, baseball, men's and women's golf, and men's and women's track and field in the spring.
The college will add another sport next year, when women's wrestling is elevated form a club team to a full-time sport, spurred on by this winter's success for Kendra Nelson, a Southwestern student who won the national title and was named outstanding wrestler at the women's NJCAA championships.