Tom Herrion is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Thundering Herd and has already taken the program to success it has not seen since the 1980's.
Herrion recorded his 50th win at Marshall on Dec. 19, 2012, his 81st game with the Herd. He achieved his 50th win faster than any Marshall coach since Rick Huckabay in 1986.
Herrion's teams have a history of rebounding well, as they have ranked in the top 40 in rebounding in all three seasons including a ranking of eight in 2011-12. Marshall has ranked in the top 10 nationally in offensive rebounds per game in the past two seasons, third in 2011-12 and seventh in 2012-13.
With Herrion at the helm, the fanbase has been rejuvenated as an average of 6,150 fans came through the Cam Henderson Center doors in 2012, the third-best mark in the conference and the most at Marshall in 17 years. Over the last three years, Marshall has averaged 5,757 fans at Henderson, the most in a three-year period since 1989-92.
In 2012, Herrion led Marshall to its first-ever Conference USA Championship game and first NIT appearance in 24 years. With CIT appearances in 2010 and 2011, it was the first time in program history that Marshall had qualified for a postseason tournament in three consecutive seasons. The Herd played the 16th toughest schedule in the country and finished with a 21-14 record. Marshall made the Conference USA Championship game for the first time in school history and was the first team ever to do so as a No. 6 seed.
The Herd began the year 5-0, its best start to a season in 12 years and the regular season was highlighted by a 73-69 overtime win at Cincinnati for Marshall's first win over a major conference school on the road in 22 years. Herrion coached DeAndre Kane and Damier Pitts to spots on the All-Conference USA teams.
After being named the 28th men's basketball coach in program history on April 10, 2010, Herrion led the Herd to a 22-12 record and a postseason appearance in the CIT in his first season. It was the first time the program had won 20 or more games and advanced to the postseason in consecutive campaigns in over 20 years.
His team quickly bought into his philosophy of toughness and rebounding and used that to dominate No. 21 West Virginia 75-71, a game Marshall led by 24 points. Just ten days later, the team earned its first win over Memphis since joining C-USA. Herrion won his 100th career game on Feb. 26 with a 64-62 win over SMU.
Players on the team experienced unprecedented growth on and off the court over the course of Herrion's inaugural season. He helped Tirrell Baines and Damier Pitts reach the 1,000-point plateau, saw DeAndre Kane become the second-straight MU player to win the C-USA Freshman of the Year award while Johnny Thomas was named to the C-USA All-Academic Team, posting an impressive 3.66 GPA.
Prior to Marshall, Herrion brought 21 years of collegiate coaching experience to Huntington. Marshall marks the second time Herrion will serve as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level. From 2002-06, Herrion was the head coach at the College of Charleston where he posted an impressive 80-38 record (a .678 winning percentage). His first Cougar squad (2002-03) went 25-8, won the Great Alaska Shootout, earned a national top-25 ranking and made the NIT. His 25 victories marked the highest win total of any first-year NCAA Division I head coach during that season. Herrion's teams won at least 17 games each year during his time at the helm of the College of Charleston program including a 20-9 record during the 2003-04 campaign.
After serving as a television commentator for ESPN Regional and Comcast during the 2006-07 season, Herrion spent the past three seasons as the associate head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. Herrion's primary responsibilities at Pitt included recruiting student-athletes, game preparation and on-floor coaching.
He helped head coach Jamie Dixon's Pitt squad to an impressive 25-9 overall record, second place finish in the Big East with a 13-5 slate, the school's ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a No. 3. Quite an accomplishment considering the Panthers lost four starters-including two NBA players in DeJuan Blair and Sam Young- from the 2008-09 squad and prior to the season, Pitt was unranked and picked to finish ninth in the Big East by the league's coaches. During his stint with the Panthers, Pitt was 83-24. At the time, Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com rated Herrion No. 11 in his top 20 High-Major assistant coaches' poll.
Dixon, who was named the 2009 Naismith National Coach of the Year and the 2010 Jim Phelan National Coach of the year had this to say about Herrion.
"We have been extremely fortunate to have Tom on our coaching staff for the past three years," Dixon commented. "With his talent, experience and contacts, Tom has proved to be an outstanding and valuable addition to our program. He is a well-rounded, complete coach and has assisted us in recruiting, scouting and player development. We are happy and excited for Tom and his family. He will do a great job at Marshall."
Herrion's collegiate coaching experience includes stints as an assistant at the University of Virginia (1999-2002), Providence College (1994-98) and NCAA Division II Merrimack College (1989-94). He spent eight seasons under Pete Gillen at both Virginia and Providence.
In his four seasons at Virginia, Herrion helped Gillen orchestrate a 70-50 record and three postseason appearances. His main responsibilities included recruitment of student-athletes, scheduling and scouting of opponents and assisting with practice planning and game preparation. Additionally, the Cavaliers' recruiting classes were ranked among the nation's top-10 in three of his four seasons with the program.
During his time at Providence, the Friars put together a 72-53 four-year record including a berth in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight and two NIT appearances. At Merrimack, he helped guide the Warriors to two NCAA Division II tournament appearances.
"Tom was a tremendous assistant for me for four years at Providence College and helped us get to the Elite Eight in 1997," Gillen said. "He also did a great job for us at the University of Virginia for four years and he is excellent in all areas of the coaching profession. He is a great family man and he is a teacher of the fundamentals. He will represent Marshall University in a great manner in everything that he does."
Herrion received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Merrimack in 1989. As an undergrad he competed in both basketball and baseball for the Warriors. He worked as a student assistant coach in 1986-87. He also served two seasons as the junior varsity coach at Cambridge Ridge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Mass.
A native of Oxford, Mass., Herrion was a three-year letterwinner in both basketball and baseball at Oxford High School. Herrion hails from a coaching family. His father, the late Jim Herrion, was a successful high school coach in the New York City Catholic League before becoming an assistant coach at Holy Cross and later the head coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His older brother Bill is currently the head basketball coach at the University of New Hampshire (2005-), one of six pairs of brothers serving as head coaches at division I schools. Bill has also served head coaching stints at both East Carolina (1999-2005) and Drexel University (1991-99).
Herrion is married to Leslie and has one son, Robert James.