Honest coach catches mistake, loses title

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The North Attleboro High School track team had clinched the state title with a win in the 4×400 relay, but that all changed when the team’s coach noticed a judge’s scoring mistake.

The Red Rocketeers had taken their second consecutive state championship, edging Central Catholic by just one point. However, Coach Derek Herber noticed something just wasn’t adding up. His point tally was coming up short of what the judges had awarded the team.

As it turned out, there was a clerical error on the judges’ part. A North Attleboro runner came in seventh place in the 110-meter hurdles, but was accidentally awarded the points for a second place finish. Herber alerted the MIAA about the possible mistake, which once confirmed, dropped his team’s point total by six points. That was enough to knock North Attleboro into third place.

“We try to teach our kids to do the right thing,” Herber told Eyewitness News. “I don’t regret it. I think it’s the best decision I’ve made. You know, it was the right decision to make.”

“Winning isn’t everything,” agreed senior Ian Flanagan. “Being a good sport, that’s what he did yesterday. I’m proud of him for it.”

This would have been Herber’s last shot at a state title in track. He’s retiring as the team’s coach at the end of the school year. He says he plans to coach football in the fall.

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