Hart coach Rick Herrington is watching practice videos after heart transplant

Hart football coach Rick Herrington (right) underwent heart transplant surgery on Sunday night.
Hart football coach Rick Herrington, right, is on the mend after a heart transplant. Brothers Dean, left, and Mike have visited him. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

You know that Hart football coach Rick Herrington is on his way to recovery after receiving a new heart because he's already scheduling his return to the golf course.

"I'm getting better every day," he said Sunday by phone. "They said in a month or two, I should be walking again. Right now, the legs and arms are sore."

Hart has been holding spring practices, and Herrington receives video after each practice via Hudl. He sits on his couch watching and making notes so he can communicate suggestions to his assistants, which include his brother, Mike, a former Hart head coach who retired but has been serving as an assistant.

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"I'll take him to Jack in the Box," Rick said of his gift for Mike.

Hart returns quarterback Tim Larkins and standout receiver Shawn Irwin, so Herrington is not only optimistic he'll be returning in the fall but also likes his team.

He's visited at home by a nurse three times a week and is also working with a physical therapist while using a walker to get stronger. He said he was told that his new heart is less than 25 years old and should last 30 to 40 years.

"So I'll have until 103," said the 63-year-old Herrington.

He's thankful for his doctors at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and said he'll be "a Bruin" for life.


"They were amazing," he said. "I came home only two weeks after surgery. It's something I don't wish on anyone. Now that it's done, I have to get to football practice."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.