HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall athletics director Mike Hamrick didn’t like the feeling inside the Cam Henderson Center as the 2013-14 season drew to a close and The Herd struggled to reach double-digit wins for the second straight season.
After Marshall limped to an 11-22 finish, coach Tom Herrion submitted his resignation Friday morning, ending a four-year tenure. He was 67-67 overall but just 22-41 the past two years.
“At the end of the day the program wasn’t moving in the direction that both Tom and I thought it should move in,” Hamrick said during a news conference Friday afternoon. “Tom is a classy guy. He’s a friend. He was loyal to Marshall University.”
Marshall’s season ended Wednesday night with a 73-58 loss to Old Dominion in the second round of the C-USA tournament.
“After meeting with Mike earlier today, I have decided that it is in the best interest of all parties that I resign my position as head basketball coach at Marshall University,” Herrion said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity that was given to me and will cherish the last four years and the many great people I have met and the memorable moments we achieved. My family and I have enjoyed being a part of the Marshall and greater Huntington community. We wish the entire Thundering Herd Nation great success moving forward.”
The final two years of the Tom Herrion era were a stark contrast to the first two.
During his first season the Herrion led Thundering Herd to an invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The next season, Marshall caught fire in the Conference USA Tournament beating Tulsa in a magical triple-overtime game and then rival Southern Miss to reach its first ever C-USA Tournament Championship game. Marshall earned a bid to the postseason NIT.
The 2012-13 began with talk of The Thundering Herd being a top-25 program and a threat to Memphis’ stranglehold on the league. However, Marshall never met those expectations and instead spiraled downward, losing 41 games over the last two seasons.
“I have high expectations,” said Hamrick. “I sensed this year there was not a lot of energy in our program and I sensed apathy in our fan base. There was a lot of apathy within our program.”
“We were all at the games in February and March. We saw the crowds. We saw the lack of enthusiasm in that building. That’s not how you build a program and Tom and I discussed that.”
Hamrick said a nationwide search will start immediately to find a successor but declined to comment on possible candidates.
“We have to bring the energy back to Thundering Herd basketball and we have to find the right guy to do that,” he said.
Herrion still has two years remaining on his contract and will be paid a buyout of around $550,000. Hamrick said the buyout will be paid with private funds and ticket revenue.
“Tom gave Marshall everything he had, but sometimes things just don’t work out. At the end of the day we lost 22 basketball games,” Hamrick said.
“Basketball is critical to the success of our athletics program. We have to successful in basketball and I believe we can.”