Herrion to take over Thundering Herd
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Tom Herrion was ready to become a head coach again, even if it meant leaving a successful program at Pittsburgh.
The former Panthers associate head coach was introduced as Marshall's new coach Saturday.
Herrion was given a five-year contract. He will be paid $394,000 annually.
He replaces Donnie Jones, who left last month to become Central Florida's coach.
Herrion said he was impressed by Marshall president Stephen J. Kopp's commitment and support for the university's athletes.
"It was clear as day that I needed to be here, that we needed to take this opportunity and to elevate our basketball program," Herrion said. "We are here to elevate. I told Dr. Kopp it's not to rebuild, but to continue to restore and build on and elevate the program to greater heights."
Herrion, 42, spent three seasons on Jamie Dixon's staff. Pittsburgh won the Big East tournament in 2008 and advanced to the NCAA regional finals in 2009.
Herrion's dogged pursuit of the Marshall job left a lasting impression on athletic director Mike Hamrick.
"He showed a passion that he wanted to be here," Hamrick said. "He pursued this job from day one."
A 1989 graduate of Merrimack, Herrion wasn't Marshall's first choice. Appalachian State's Buzz Peterson said he was offered the Marshall job but the two sides couldn't agree on a contract.
Marshall went 24-10 this season and played in the 16-team CollegeInsider.com Tournament, its first postseason tournament appearance since 1988.
"Our fans are starved for success in basketball," Hamrick said. "We're trying to get the Herd nation behind our basketball program. We believe that will happen."
Tom Herrion will continue the Thundering Herd's cross-state rivalry with West Virginia. On Feb. 3 in Morgantown, Herrion was struck under his right eye by a coin that came from the stands. Marshall and West Virginia meet every January in Charleston.
"I can't tell you how thrilled we are to be here," Herrion said. "I can't tell you how excited I am to hit the ground running. I can assure you unequivocally how good a job this is in our circle in the landscape of college basketball."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press