MANCHESTER - After a successful 11-year run as Burr and Burton Academy's boys hockey coach, Cory Herrington has decided to hang up his whistle.

"It's been difficult the last couple of years," Herrington said. "My younger son's playing a bit and it's been a tremendous sacrifice on my family. So, at the end of this year it was kind of time to change gears and continue to be a little bit more involved in the youth program."

The decision did not come easy for Herrington, 38, who will continue to serve as the Associate Dean of Students and teach social studies at the school.

He said that while he loves working with the kids the time commitment involved just became too much as Rutland or Brattleboro were the two shortest road trips during the season.

BBA hockey coach Cory Herrington has announced he will be stepping down after 11 seasons.
BBA hockey coach Cory Herrington has announced he will be stepping down after 11 seasons. (Austin Danforth Photo)
And in addition to coaching the Bulldogs, Herrington has also been helping with his son's team.

The veteran coach said he has been contemplating retirement for the past couple of years, but finally decided that it was time.

"I mulled it over a little bit this year," Herrington said. "It was a fantastic run and we were hoping we could get it done, but at that point I knew that that would be my last game."

Burr and Burton started off the past season 1-3 before going on a 17-game unbeaten run to the state championship game, where U-32 defeated BBA, 5-2, in the finals to repeat as state champions.

The Bulldogs ended the regular season with a 15-3-1 record before knocking off No. 6 Hartford 4-3 and sneaking by No. 2 Brattleboro 2-1 to go to return to the finals for the first time since 2009.

Herrington took over as coach in the second year of the program and in his 11 year tenure compiled a 143-84-15 record, which included state titles in 2004 and 2007. Overall, his teams appeared in the finals five times and the semi-finals six times.

Looking back on his career though, Herrington said that it wasn't the state championships or the wins that he would remember most from his time as coach.

"[The] best memories for me is working with these young men day in and day and having some pretty unbelievable and interesting bus rides," Herrington said. "There's so much more than just wins. When you look at coaching it's really about the experience and the journey. The understanding of team work and hard work and perseverance and facing adversity."

Paraphrasing a former Michigan coach, Herrington continued to say he probably would not know what kind of coach he was until 15 to 20 years from now.

"We'll see how we've done when [the players are] men and out working in the community and hopefully giving back to our community," he said. "[Watching] them grow up into productive and healthy and happy members of our society is really what's rewarding in coaching."

On the ice, Herrington said that while each season was special in its own way the two that came to mind first were the two championship seasons.

"The second year we were able to get six, seven wins and then that third year in existence to be able to win a state championship and [have] just a tremendous group of athletes was really special and I just think [it] put Burr and Burton hockey on the map," Herrington said. "We were also able to win a championship in '06-'07 which I think was an indication we weren't a fluke. Then we've been able to really play consistently."

Throughout the years, Herrington said he has also been fortunate not only to work with a great group of coaches, but to have the support of parents and school officials as well - all adding to the experience.

"It's been a great run," he said. "It's a labor of love. I've enjoyed every minute of it."

Follow on Twitter @BrandonCanevari.