Northern Lehigh's wrestling program will look a little different next season.
Todd Herzog, who took over as head coach back in 1996 after Bob Kern turned over a program that he laid the groundwork for, submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday to Athletic Director Bryan Geist.
Herzog, along with long-time assistants Brent Herzog and Rob Marlatt, will step aside. Former Bulldog wrestlers Brett Martinez and Mike Reichard, both assistants, will stay with the program to help with the transition.
"I just felt the time was right," said Herzog, when contacted this morning. "It's a really tough decision for me. This is all I've know from the time I've been in the Northern Lehigh wrestling room since back in 1980.
"I kind of have a heavy heart. I'm kind of happy and elated on one end and kind of depressed because I've always been around it. I've had some time to think about it and think the program is kind of stable and in a good position and felt that the timing was right to make the move and start a new chapter in my life."
Herzog, who had teams win five Colonial League and District 11dual-meet championships and a state title, complied a record of 284-82 during his tenure as head coach. Before being named head coach , he was an assistant under Kern for eight years.
"He's an outstanding coach and we were lucky to have him all of those years," said Geist. "He has done so much for Northern Lehigh bringing us numerous champions and championships and has paved the way for many student-athletes that have come through his system."
Herzog coached 49 league champions, 35 district champions, 20 regional champions, four PIAA state champions, 63 PIAA State qualifiers, 43 PIAA State medalists, 5 NCAA All-Americans, 18 wrestlers with "100" wins 17 consecutive years producing at least one state medalist, 17 consecutive winning seasons and is second all-time in PIAA History as a coach with the number of medalists in AA.
"I probably started thinking about it a year ago," said Herzog. "There are many accomplishments I'll remember, but it's some of the things that I didn't do that also stick in my mind.
"Of course beating Reynolds for out first team title was great. There were a lot of good individuals that were district champs and state qualifiers. It was a temporary setback that I think made me a better coach.
"There was Scott Snyder back in 2006. who went 45-1 and his lone loss was in the state final. I still feel bad for him. The same thing happened to Cory DeBias in 1997.
Herzog was a four-time Colonial League Coach of the Year, five-time District 11 Coach of the Year, Northeast Regional Coach of the Year, PIAA State Coach of the Year and District 11 Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee in 2010.
"It was never about one person, I always coached on a team basis," Herzog said. "And I couldn't have done it without the people around me behind the scenes. My parents, my assistant coaches including my brother Brent, my brother Bobby who was the scorekeeper and kept the statistics and coaches like Marlatt and Glenn Serfass.
"And there was no better administration to work for. I took our team to a lot of different places and always heard how things weren't always so good and never had one bad thing to say about our AD or administration. They were always willing to listen."
Herzog also goes out on a winning note, after watching his son Ty grab a victory in his final match at the PIAA Championships to bring home a fifth-place medal.
So the search has started and Geist probably won't have to look too far. Hopefully he'll get someone who wrestled under Herzog to continue the tradition that has long been known, Northern Lehigh wrestling.