Newport Harbor High is expecting boys' basketball coach Larry Hirst to return within a week after he collapsed during a game Friday night, Sailors' Athletic Director Mike Zimmerman said Wednesday.
Hirst is recovering and resting at home after dealing with dehydration and flu symptoms last week, Zimmerman said. Bob Torribio, who coached the Sailors during Hirst's one-year hiatus in the 2008-09 season, has been coaching the team in Hirst's absence.
Hirst, 49, collapsed during the fourth quarter in a game against Edison, where he graduated from in 1979. The game was called with Edison leading at Newport Harbor. Hirst was taken to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, where he was later released that night, Zimmerman said.
"It was a bit scary," Zimmerman said of his reaction when he saw Hirst collapse. "It was surreal and it was shock, just thinking, 'Is this really happening?'
"… To everyone's credit, everyone handled the situation really well."
Zimmerman said Hirst had, "a bit of the flu bug," last week.
"I think he just ran himself down," Zimmerman said. "He had dehydration. He was working really hard with the team. I think it just caught up to him. Fortunately it wasn't serious. It didn't have anything to do with his heart. It was more about fatigue and exhaustion. I'm sure he would like to be back right now knowing how competitive he is."
Zimmerman said Hirst could return to Newport Harbor, where he teaches physical education, on Friday or Monday.
Hirst's wife, Sheridan, who teaches computers at Newport Harbor, has been relaying messages of her husband's health to staff throughout the past few days.