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Springville school board to vote on new football coach

Springville could have its next football coach as soon as Tuesday night.

The Springville-Griffith Institute Central Board of Education will vote during its 6:30 p.m. meeting on whether to appoint Mark Heichberger to head coach, a position vacated after last season by Rob Valenti.

Heichberger is one of four athletic department appointments on the agenda recommended for approval during the meeting by Joe DeMartino, the district’s athletic director. No other candidates have been recommended for football. The other three coaching positions are for modified or junior varsity spring sports.

In addition to being a physical education teacher at Springville for 18 years, Heichberger coaches girls track and field. He’s also a former junior varsity football coach and varsity assistant.

“He brings experience with physical education and coaching areas,” DeMartino said of why he recommended Heichberger. “And one of his greatest strengths is his ability to connect with kids. We’re looking toward his leadership to provide opportunities for our kids to be successful.”

Valenti, 36, spent 10 years with the Springville program, including two stints as coach (2014 and 2017-18). He guided the team to a 6-3 mark in 2014 but the group has posted a 1-18 mark over the past two seasons.

Valenti was an assistant to Eric Jantzi during the Griffins’ 7-1 division-title winning campaign in 2015 and served as an assistant when Springville reached the Section VI final in 2012.

He stepped down from the head coaching job both times for family reasons. Valenti is the father of four children, ages 6 and younger.

“Ultimately, it just comes down to the commitment of time it takes to do this and the sacrifice of family time that is a result of it,” Valenti told The News in November. “As they’ve started to grow and come into their own, it’s harder and harder to be gone every day.”

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