You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

A former Georgia Tech assistant will be on the TCU bench


A year ago, Tom Herrion was trying to help Georgia Tech win the NIT. Thursday night, the former Yellow Jackets assistant coach, now an assistant on the TCU staff, will be doing his best to prevent it.

Tech and TCU will meet Thursday night for the NIT championship in Madison Square Garden. No one in the arena (or in the world, for that matter) will be more familiar with both teams than Herrion, who served for two years as an assistant coach to Brian Gregory before the staff was cleaned out upon Gregory’s dismissal.

“It’s kind of odd, to be honest with you,” Herrion told the AJC Tuesday night after the Horned Frogs beat UCF to reach the final.

All four teams in the NIT semifinals have stayed at the same Times Square hotel, giving Herrion the opportunity to visit with players he had coached for the past two years. Herrion said that it’s hard to follow other teams because of the tunnel vision that develops with one’s own team, but said he has kept tabs, particularly once both became semifinalists.

With the exception of graduate transfers Kellen McCormick and Jodan Price and freshman Justin Moore, every scholarship player on the Tech roster was either coached or recruited (and in most cases both) by Gregory and his staff, including Herrion.

“Obviously happy for their success and they’re wonderful kids, and obviously Josh (Pastner) and his staff have done a great job,” he said.

At TCU, Herrion’s title is special assistant. He is not one of the team’s three assistant coaches, meaning he can’t directly coach players in practices or games. With experience as a head coach (at College of Charleston and Marshall, both four-year stints), he serves as a resource for Dixon and the three assistants.

Herrion was an assistant to Dixon at Pitt for three seasons (2007-2010), during which time the Panthers put together an 83-24 record and went to the NCAA Tournament all three years. Dixon called Herrion one of his best friends in the business.

“He’s able to watch a lot of film,” Dixon said. “With his position, you can do a lot of different things. He just brings knowledge and he’s great for the assistants, too. I mean, just great in letting them know what we’re trying to do (and) I’m trying to do as a coach. Not just in basketball, but in building the program.”

At TCU, the Horned Frogs were a surprise team in the Big 12, finishing in a tie for seventh after being projected to finish in last. They’ve won 20 games for the first time since the 2004-05 season. If they beat Tech Thursday, they’ll tie for the second-most wins in school history (24).

“We’ve obviously had a great year,” Herrion said. “We hit a stretch late in conference, we lost, like, six in a row (actually seven), but since we went to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament, we’ve kind of been on a nice run. A lot of nice things coming together. It’s been a special group to coach.”

Herrion said he hasn’t been surprised by the improvement shown by Tech players such as center Ben Lammers or forward Quinton Stephens.

“He played behind really good older guys,” Herrion said of Lammers. “We saw it every day. He didn’t have to play extended minutes for us and clearly he’s doing a great job for them, playing a lot of minutes and had a spectacular year.”

Herrion said he, wife Leslie and son Robert are enjoying Fort Worth, Texas. He had a coaching lifer’s perspective on Gregory’s firing.

“I’ve been in the business a long time, so I know what that entails – you move on,” he said. “One door closes, another one opens. You’ve got strong relationships and fond memories of the people and, most importantly, the players that we were fortunate enough to coach those two years. Very happy for their success. Like I said, Josh Pastner has done a terrific job, and his staff. Like I said, I think it’s been very neat to see the players’ and their teams’ success because we had a lot of investment in that.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Jordan Woods explains transfer decision
Jordan Woods explains transfer decision

Jordan Woods, the Georgia Tech freshman defensive end who left the team this past week , said he had been considering transferring for a while but only reached his final decision in recent days. “It’s been a while since I made the decision, but I wanted to give spring (practice) a try,”...
Atlanta United 3, Real Salt Lake 1: Man of the match
Atlanta United 3, Real Salt Lake 1: Man of the match

The man of the match for Atlanta United after Saturday’s game against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium: MIGUEL ALMIRON Midfielder Why: Though he was credited with just one assist, coming on Yamil Asad’s goal, it was his pass that led to Hector Villalba’s goal that opened the scoring in the ninth minute, and his pass to Julian Gressel...
Atlanta United 3, Real Salt Lake 1: 5 observations
Atlanta United 3, Real Salt Lake 1: 5 observations

With help from two poor passes by Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Atlanta United picked up a 3-1 win on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium and will come home with a respectable five points from its four-game road stretch. It wasn’t a complete performance by the MLS expansion team, but goals from Hector Villalba in the first half and Yamil...
Braves lose fifth straight on Phillies’ walk-off in 10th
Braves lose fifth straight on Phillies’ walk-off in 10th

Second baseman Brandon Phillips gave the Braves the lead with a one-run double on Saturday. After the Phillies took it back, Phillips homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and the Braves took a one-run lead in the 10th. But Braves closer Jim Johnson couldn’t survive a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the 10th. The Phillies...
Ryan Howard reaches base four times in Gwinnett Braves debut
Ryan Howard reaches base four times in Gwinnett Braves debut

Veteran first baseman Ryan Howard had two hits and reached base four times in his first game with the Gwinnett Braves Saturday night in Lawrenceville.  Howard was 2-for-2 (both singles), had an RBI, was hit by a pitch and was walked intentionally as the Triple-A Braves (11-5) beat Pawtucket 5-2. Howard, 37, was signed by the Braves to a minor...
More Stories