Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- Riverside softball coach Kristy Hebert

Kristy Hebert is headed back to John Curtis.

Hebert, who spent the past seven seasons at Riverside Academy, was named girls athletic director at Curtis on Monday.

She coached basketball and softball at Curtis for 10 years, beginning in 1997, and won five straight state softball championships in her final five years.

“It was just a decision my family made as a whole,” Hebert said. “The most appealing thing is that I will get a chance to step away from the coaching part for a year or so and spend more time with my girls and watch them play and enjoy that.”

All three of her daughters are athletes, which factored in her decision.

Toni, a junior, plays volleyball, basketball, softball and track and was a member of The New Orleans Advocate’s all-metro softball team after helping Riverside to the Class 2A semifinals. Dani, also a junior, participates on the volleyball and track teams, and Remi, a seventh-grader, plays all sports.

Hebert spent the past season coaching softball at Riverside, and she also coached volleyball and girls basketball during her time at the school. She begins her new job immediately.

“Kristy Hebert’s return to John Curtis is a major step forward for our program,” Patriots Athletic Director J.T. Curtis said. “She has experience and skills as an administrator, coach, and athlete. She was well-loved when she coached here previously, where she forged the reputation as one of the best softball coaches in the state. We have watched her continued success at Riverside Academy with the greatest of admiration. She has continuously earned the respect of her peers, her players and her opponents.”

Hebert admitted it was hard to leave Riverside.

“It was extremely tough,” she said. “We developed a family over there, and they were very supportive. I had a great relationship with the principal and (Athletic Director Timmy) Byrd and we all got along well. It was an extremely hard decision, but I am happy with it.”

Byrd said he will take over as athletic director of girls programs at Riverside, a position he has held in the past.

“Coach Hebert has directed our girls athletic program with dignity and class and is leaving our girls athletic program in a position to compete for the highest honors for many years to come,” he said. “It will be a challenge to replace her skill set as she has the unique ability to direct and coach all sports at a very high level. Her track record as a coach is deserving of Hall of Fame honors. We are sad to see her go, but we wish nothing but the best for her and her family at John Curtis.”

Hebert’s goals for the Curtis girls are simple.

“The program obviously is already in great shape,” she said. “They have great programs in basketball, volleyball, softball and track. They are always competing and winning. I am just hoping to continue that success.”