Coaching and Inspiring the Future


Photo Credit: Christopher Araujo

Coach Rene Herrera talks about himself on how he got into coaching and his accomplishments as one.

Rene Herrera is the head coach of Rio Hondo Colleges (RHC) women’s basketball team and RHC alumni who played basketball here. He led the women’s basketball team to their first playoff win in 17 years this season. 

Who is Coach Rene Herrera?

Before becoming coach, Herrera wanted to work at RHC but was told to get both his bachelor’s, master’s and to come back and apply. That is what Herrera did after playing college basketball at Whittier College. “Rio helped mold me and shaped me and helped me build relationships, and it kind of opened my eyes and gave me a sense of belonging,” he said. “I got support here and that’s the only way I was able to get out. I asked for help and people helped me. What better place to come back home.” Herrera explained why he chose to go back to RHC and work there. Herrera wanted to help put RHC and put it on the map. 


Coach Herrera worked with wanting to bring people into RHC and has been successful. “We coach them up and build them up,” Herrera said. One thing he has learned from coaching is that every kid is different. “I can’t talk to one kid a specific way and hope that it’s gonna be the same with the next kid. There are some kids I can yell and they’ll respond, there’s some kids I gotta pull over and encourage. Coaching has different styles just like teaching and learning.” Herrera knows when to make teaching simpler for his players to understand and the challenges he gets put through. Herrera likes to treat his players as if they were his kids to help pave the way, just like the people paved the way for him so his daughters can get help along the way. 

Personal Life

Herrera’s life revolves around basketball. “My hobbies are basketball 24/7,” he said. “My kids are very involved in basketball. I run a club, Runs Up in Hoop, and I got 16 teams and I’m around it 24/7. I’m always helping one of the teams out developing kids.” 


However, he did mention what he likes to do on his time off with his family, “When we do have some free time, we like to go to family vacations, and go to Cancun, and go to Florida, Vegas just [to] relax and get away.” Herrera has been all about living in the moment ever since the pandemic happened. “I try to pause every now and then, take short breaths and really focus on things that matter the most,” he said.


Herrera has been coaching since 2006 after he stopped playing at the college level in 2005. “So I have been an assistant coach at the JC [Junior College] level at the division three level, and I have head coach for the high school level on boys and girls side for eight or nine years, then I have been head coach here [RHC],so I have been doing a little bit over 17, 18 years as a head coach. It’s been a great ride,” Herrera said. 

First Playoff Win in 17 Years

Coach Herrera also talked about how RHC women’s basketball won their first playoff in 17 years. “It is a great accomplishment,” he said. “I was part of the last group who won a playoff game; I was an assistant coach. Anything can happen. I thought we played well enough to compete, and we lost a couple of games towards the end in our conference and hurt us with our numbers. Had we won those games, we probably would’ve got a better draw. But that’s just the way it is in basketball. But to win a playoff game and for these girls to leave a mark and to make history, I’m happy for them.” Herrera will continue to push his players on and off the court so they can pursue and accomplish their goals.