Former boss says Herrion to be OK
EL PASO, Texas -- Marshall's Thundering Herd will have its eighth different men's basketball head coach since making its last NCAA tournament appearance in 1987.
Tom Herrion resigned Friday after four seasons with a 67-67 record and zero NCAA tournament trips. Marshall made the announcement at an afternoon news conference on campus. Attempts to contact Herrion by telephone were unsuccessful.
"It's a tough business," said Pete Gillen, a former head coach now working as a CBS Sports Network college basketball analyst.
Herrion, 46, was on Gillen's coaching staffs at Providence College and the University of Virginia. During their time together the Providence Friars went to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1997 and Virginia went to the Big Dance in 2001.
Gillen said sometimes head coaches need a little bit of luck to succeed, and Herrion didn't have much luck at Marshall because of player dismissals and other things.
"He'll land on his feet somewhere," Gillen said before working semifinal games of the Conference USA tournament in the Don Haskins Center. "Hopefully he'll be an assistant coach somewhere.
"He was great to me for eight years -- a great assistant."
Gillen said losing a job is difficult because you also lose your family - your assistant coaches.
Herrion and the team returned home Thursday night after losing to Old Dominion, 73-58, Wednesday in the second round of the tournament. Marshall won its Tuesday tournament game against Florida Atlantic, 63-59.
Marshall ended the season 11-22 and that tied the school record for most defeats. The Herd had a 4-12 conference record and was seeded 14th in the 15-team tournament.
During Herrion's tenure, Marshall earned a CollegeInsider.com Tournament berth in his first season (2011) and went to the National Invitation Tournament (2012), but failed to secure an NCAA tournament bid.
Marshall teams have gone to the NCAA Tournament only five times -- 1987, 1985, 1984, 1972 and 1956.
Herrion said he planned to get back to work after returning to Huntington and was confident he would be back for next season.
"No one should be happy with our record. No one. I wasn't," he said outside the locker room after the Old Dominion game. "However, it's been 14, 16 years since we've had two kids (Kareem Canty and Ryan Taylor) on the conference all-freshman team. Twenty-four years since we went to the NIT two years ago. Everyone has short-term memory, but our starting lineup didn't play one game a year ago.
"I think our future's really bright."
Herrion's time at Marshall mirrored a similar stay in his first head coaching stop at College of Charleston.
Marshall teams coached by Herrion went 22-12 in the 2010-11 season, 21-14 in 2011-12, 13-19 in 2012-13 and 11-22 in 2013-14. His first team at College of Charleston (2002-03) was 25-9 and played in the NIT. He was 20-9 in 2003-04, 18-10 in 2004-05 and 17-11 in 2005-06.
Marshall fans developed a case of apathy this season when home game attendance dipped to an average of 4,713 in Cam Henderson Center. Herrion's four teams averaged 5,494 per season. Home attendance was 6,150 in the NIT season and 5,524 in the CIT season.
The late coach Rick Huckabay took Marshall to the NCAA tournament in 1987 and was let go two years later. A coaching carousel began with Dana Altman's one season, Dwight Freeman (four), Billy Donovan (two), Greg White (seven), Ron Jirsa (four) and Donnie Jones (three) preceding Herrion.
Two other Conference USA head coaches have resigned.
Mike Jarvis said he was stepping down at Florida Atlantic before Marshall defeated the Owls in the conference tournament. Florida Atlantic was 10-22 this season and 5-11 in the conference. Jarvis had a 76-112 record in six seasons.
Rice announced the resignation of Ben Braun following a loss to North Texas on the first day of the tournament. Rice went 7-23 and finished last in the conference at 2-14. Braun's recprd was 63-128 in six seasons.
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