When Ringgold’s football team was defeated by Indiana, 28-14, in the first round of the Class AAA WPIAL playoffs last fall, it was Matt Humbert’s final game as the Rams’ head coach.
Humbert, a former quarterback at California University, accepted the head coaching position at Belle Vernon Monday night. He replaces Aaron Krepps, who resigned Feb. 14 after five seasons as the head coach of the Leopards. Krepps compiled a 22-28 record and took Belle Vernon to the playoffs in all five seasons.
In Humbert’s four seasons with Ringgold, he compiled a 28-13 record and four-straight playoff apperances.
The move was a difficult one for Humbert. He was informed three weeks ago that he was a leading candidate, and pondering a move to Ringgold’s Big Nine Conference rival led to plenty of sleepless nights. In the end, an opportunity to teach in the school district in which he coached and the chance to work with a “visionary” superintendent, Dr. John D. Wilkinson, were too much for him to pass up.
Humbert, with the assistance of Ringgold’s football boosters, attempted to secure a teaching job at Ringgold but with no success.
“This is a decision that is something I have been agonizing over for what seems like an eternity,” Humbert said. “At the end of the day, I am really sick to leave the kids. I’ve been able to build a program I am extremely proud of and one the kids are extremely proud of. I loved it there and thought next year would be extremely successul.”
With Ringgold opening its athletic director position, speculation has surrounded Humbert’s job security since the Rams’ early playoff exit, but he insists that he was not pushed out. Rather, he was pulled in by an intriguing opportunity at Belle Vernon, including “full support” from the administration.
For the past two years, Humbert has worked closely with dual-threat quarterback Nico Law, who compiled 2,604 total yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior last season. With Law leading Humbert’s spread offense, Ringgold was seen as a favorite to win the Big Nine next fall.
“I’m sick to leave my quarterback,” Humbert said. “Ringgold has great kids, but this was an opportunity I could not pass up. It was an extremely difficult decision to say the least.”
After former Clairton head coach Tom Nola, who also was linked to the Belle Vernon job, accepted the same position at Gateway, the rest fell into place for Humbert. He was the district’s top candidate to continue the Leopards’ recent success.
Humbert may have an uncomfortable homecoming waiting this fall. as Belle Vernon will compete with Ringgold for the Big Nine Conference title. The teams will meet Oct. 3 at Ringgold.
“Ringgold is going to be a good football team, as long as they get someone in there who works hard with the kids,” Humbert said. “They are great kids and, of course, it’s going to be hard to play against them. I’m very excited about what we can do here. At the end of the day, I think this is a program that can sustain success over the long haul. I’m excited to get started.”