Herrion Named Assistant Hoop Coach

PITTSBURGH -- For the second straight year, Danny Hurley turned down an opportunity to join University of Pittsburgh men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon as an assistant coach, so the Panthers quickly turned to former College of Charleston head coach Tom Herrion.

Herrion, 39, joins Pitt assistants Pat Sandle and Orlando Antigua, director of men's basketball operations David Cox and video coordinator Brandin Knight on Dixon's 2007-08 staff.

"We are extremely excited about Tom becoming a member of the university community and I know he is ecstatic to be coming to Pittsburgh,'' Dixon said in a released statement. "Tom is a well-rounded coach and will help us in recruiting, scouting and player development.

"We are extremely fortunate to have a coach with his background. He also has the experience of coaching in several different environments and as a Massachusetts native is familiar with the Big East region.''

Pitt has had three assistant coaches move on to head coaching positions in the last two years. Herrion replaces former assistant Mike Rice, who was named the Robert Morris head coach on April 26. Former Pitt assistants Barry Rohrssen (Manhattan) and Joe Lombardi (Indiana, Pa.) were named head coaches at their respective schools last summer.

Hurley reportedly was offered the job last year as well, but decided to remain as a high school coach at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J. Hurley opted to keep his family in New Jersey and informed Dixon about his decision over the weekend, and the Pitt head coach moved quickly to bring Herrion aboard.

At the College of Charleston, Herrion compiled an 80-38 four-year record, earned a top-25 national ranking, guided his team to the 2003 National Invitation Tournament and achieved the best winning percentage in the Southern Conference during that period.

Herrion's first Cougars team in 2002-03 finished 25-8, captured the Great Alaska Shootout and advanced to the NIT. His 25 victories marked the highest total of any first-year NCAA Division I head coach during the 2002-03 season. Herrion guided the Cougars to a 20-9 finish in 2003-04, 18-10 performance in 2004-05 and 17-11 record in 2005-06.

However, it was difficult for Herrion to live up to his predecessor, John Kresse, a coach so popular and successful that the new College of Charleston arena was named after him. After the Cougars went 17-11 in his fourth season, he was fired despite having four years left on his contract. Herrion's agent negotiated a buyout of $787,000.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski called Herrion one of the most energetic coaches that he has ever seen, but he appeared to be abrasive and alienated some fans who idolized the more affable Kresse.

Herrion's widespread collegiate coaching experience includes assistant stints 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 postseason appearances in each of his last three seasons. His main responsibilities included recruitment of student-athletes, scheduling and scouting of opponents and assisting with practice planning and game preparation. The Cavaliers' recruiting classes were ranked among the nation's top 10 in three of his four seasons with the program. At Providence under Gillen, the Friars put together a 72-53 four-year record including a berth in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight and two NIT appearances.

Herrion also served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Merrimack College, from 1989-94. During that time, he helped guide Merrimack to two NCAA Division II tournament appearances.

Herrion received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Merrimack in 1989. As an undergrad at Merrimack, he competed in both basketball and baseball and 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-present). Bill has also served head coaching stints at both East Carolina (1999-2005) and Drexel (1991-99).

Herrion will relocate to Pittsburgh with his wife, the former Leslie Tysinger of Hampton, Va. She is a former Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator at The Citadel.

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