Pictured is the Senath-Hornersville high school boys basketball program.
"When I walked in the door I told the kids 'we are going to win,'" Heeb said. "There are no moral victories here. We are not trying to make the score close or anything like that. We are going to win.
"We are definitely facing an uphill battle because we are so young," Heeb continued. "But I keep telling the kids 'we have a great team here. It's not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.' Is it going to take them a year to get there? Maybe. But if they do it right it won't take them a whole season."
Heeb, who has made quite a name for himself coaching boys basketball in southeast Missouri, has never coached a varsity basketball team that finished with a losing record.
Heeb won two state titles as a coach by the time he was 26, coaching Bell City to state titles in boys basketball in the 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons. Bell City had a 120-37 record in the five seasons Heeb coached the varsity team. Bell City won five district titles and advanced to the state final four three times during Heeb's five-year coaching reign at Bell City.
According to a Sikeston Standard Democrat article, Heeb coached the Scott County Central boys to a 16-14 record in the 2005-06 season, capturing a district title with three sophomores and a freshman leading the team in scoring. Heeb went 36-28 over two seasons as the head coach of the girls basketball program at Robert Morris College in Springfield, Ill., during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
The last three season Heeb has coached at Caruthersville. Caruthersville's varsity boys went 16-11 in the 2009-10 season, 21-6 in the 2010-11 season, and 16-8 in the 2011-12 season.
Heeb explained his decision to leave Caruthersville for Senath-Hornersville in an interview in his office with Daily Dunklin Democrat on Nov. 5.
"What led me here more than anything else is my wife," Heeb said of taking the head coaching job at Senath-Hornersville. "The entire time I have coached at Caurthersville my wife has taught at Senath-Hornersville. We've got three kids and the fact we never had a gym at Caruthersville until last season led to some long nights coaching at Caruthersville. There were weeks that went by where I wouldn't see my kids because I would be gone before they got out of bed and home after they got back in bed.
"My wife also has Rheumatoid Arthritis so with her health concerns and with my kids this was a better move for our family," Heeb continued. "And on top of that the more I talk to people here this is more of a basketball situation that I am comfortable with. We get to play year-around here pretty much.
"That's what led me here and I've absolutely loved it," Heeb said. "The kids are great, the administration is great and the teachers treat you well," Heeb said. "It's a little more of a small-school feel, which is what I am used to."
Senath-Hornersville enters the 2012-13 season looking for its seventh district title in school history in boys basketball and first winning season at the varsity level since the 2003-04 campaign when it went 20-8 and placed third in Class 2.
Senath-Hornersville has five upperclassmen on its varsity roster.
"We have one senior and four juniors," Heeb said. "So we are going to have to go down and get some young kids to pull up."
Hunter Satterfield is the only senior on the team.
"He's been a great leader for our program and sets the tone for our younger kids with how hard he works in the weight room," Heeb said of Satterfield. "He's here to shoot in the morning. He's just a lead by example type of kid that is an excellent student here at school."
Juniors Alex Oltman and Shane Crawford have some varsity experience.
"They've played a lot on the junior varsity the last two years, but don't have any real varsity experience" Heeb said. "I think they dressed out and played a quarter or two.
Juniors Tristan Nowlin and Alan Gonzalez will get their first taste of varsity basketball this season after playing on the junior varsity last season.
Heeb expects to move multiple underclassmen to the varsity team at the beginning of the season.
"Three younger kids I know we will put on varsity for sure are Zach Johnson, Kyle Moore and Austin Autry," Heeb said. "Zach Johnson is our sophomore point guard. Kyle Moore and Austin Autry are freshmen. It's kind of a baptism by fire for our young kids."
Senath-Hornersville opens the season on Nov. 20 at home against Gideon. Senath-Hornersville has received the No. 7 seeded in the 8-team Bulldog Classic at South Pemiscot High School. Senath-Hornersville will play second-seeded Hayti in the first round of the tournament on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.
"We start out at home against a good Gideon team," Heeb said. "We drew a tough team in the first-round of the Bulldog Classic. Hayti finished third in the state last season and has four or five kids back off that team."
Senath-Hornersville will compete in the Bootheel Conference with Kennett, Malden, Portageville, Hayti, South Pemiscot and Caruthersville. Hayti is the defending Bootheel Conference Tournament champion. The Bootheel Conference Tournament will take place at Malden beginning Jan. 28.
"Kennett is going to be very good," Heeb said of the conference. "Caruthersville will also be very good this year. I know because I had a front-row seat watching them the last three years. Malden will be better this year. They were a team that was kind of in our shoes last year being young. I think Portageville will have a shot to make it to the final four. South Pemiscot has one of the best young coaches in this part of the state and they are absolutely loaded. If anyone doesn't know how good South Pemiscot is wait a month and they will be one of the better teams in our area. They are also a team with a shot at the final four.
Senath-Hornersville will compete in a 9-team Class 2 district hosted by Bloomfield that also features Bernie, Bloomfield, Campbell, Cooter, Hayti, Holcomb, Portageville and South Pemiscot.
"Our conference is tough, our schedule is tough and we have three or four teams in our district that can make a run at the final four," Heeb said. "I really believe if things go right for our kids come district time we will be the kind of team you don't want to play. We've got size, good guards and shooters.
"The only thing you can say about us is we are young, but once upon a time Derek Tipler and those guys at New Madrid County Central were young and they made a run," Heeb continued. "Bobby Hatchett was young when he made a run at Scott County Central. It does happen and I tell these kids every day 'we are going to have a great team here.' It's just a matter of when. If they can turn a corner this year, great. If not, we only have one senior in our program."
Senath-Hornersville will host a holiday tournament Dec. 10-14
"It's always good to host a tournament," Heeb said. "It used to be a tradition that the tournament was here every year. It's something that was kind of let go here so anytime we do get to host it is a neat tradition for our community and kids."
Heeb said be believes his players are adapting to a fast-paced style of practice that will help prepare them for a successful season.
"Practice is going great," Heeb said with a smile. "Of course this is a different tempo than they are used to. They are doing a great job and the thing they are learning right now about themselves is there is a wall you hit everyday. If you run through that wall it gets easier the next day.
"I'm really proud of them to be so young and handle the workload I've put on them that is probably triple what they are used to," Heeb continued. "They've never flinched. There have been a few kids that were part of the program before that decided that is too much for me and I cannot do all of that and that's fine. It's not for everybody, but these kids that have stuck in here and hung around have big things ahead for them with the talent we have coming with our younger kids and middle schools kids. We have the chance to build a powerhouse program in the Bootheel. I really believe that."