Ending weeks of rumors, Keith Heinerichs has officially been tabbed as the new basketball coach at Haverford High.

Heinerichs, who spent the last 11 seasons as coach at Ridley, a rival of Haverford's in the Central League, was approved in a school board meeting Thursday night.

"I live right around the corner from Haverford," said Heinerichs, 36. "I have three young kids who I'd like to spend more time with in the future. I wanted to make my family part of my basketball life."

Terry McNichol, 51, was fired two months ago after 15 seasons as Haverford's coach. The use of anonymous online evaluations is believed to have played a part in his dismissal.

Heinerichs, a 1993 graduate of Marple Newtown, said he would remain a social studies teacher at Ridley. He resigned his position as Green Raiders coach last week and met with the school's players.

"This was a real tough decision to make," he said. "It's something I thought about for a long time. I love the people at Ridley. In the end, I thought this was the right move at the right time for me."

Heinerichs said he plans to add John Roe, former head coach at three area schools, most recently at Downingtown West, as his top assistant.

The Fords have struggled in recent years to keep up with the Central League front-runners.

"We're going to do everything we can to play as hard and as unselfish as we can," Heinerichs said. "If we do that, good things will happen."

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.