Two changes to the Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach were made official Wednesday – the hiring of assistant coach Tom Herrion and the promotion of assistant coach Chad Dollar to associate head coach. They were previously reported last week.
The hiring of Herrion, particularly considering the timing, is pretty strong, I think. Herrion was fired from his two head coaching jobs. This spring, he was let go at Marshall, where he got the Thundering Herd into the NIT in 2012, the school’s first NIT or NCAA appearance since 1988. Prior to that, in 2006, he was not retained after his fourth season at the College of Charleston, where he had the unenviable task of following the highly successful John Kresse and went 80-38 but couldn’t follow up on Kresse’s success. (Kresse was actually replaced at College of Charleston by Bobby Cremins.)
However, he was an assistant to two notably successful coaches – Pete Gillen at Providence and Virginia (1994-2002) and Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh (2007-10), where he was associate head coach.
I’d think if he was good enough to help Gillen and Dixon, he ought to be of considerable use to Gregory. It’s a particularly solid hire considering that Gregory had to go looking in August, after Billy Schmidt left to take a job as an assistant to Florida coach Billy Donovan (who, like Herrion, was a head coach at Marshall). Typically, hirings take place in the weeks or first couple months after the end of the season.
“He brings a wealth of experience that will have a very positive impact on our players and program,” Gregory said in a statement. “He has an energy and passion that will not only resonate with our players, but also with our recruiting efforts throughout the ACC footprint.”
As for the promotion of Dollar, it’s a deserved elevation for a coach who is now the only original assistant that Gregory had on his staff for his first season in 2011-12. Dollar is responsible for recruiting 11 of the 13 scholarship players on the roster to Tech and has played a significant role in the development of forward Marcus Georges-Hunt.
Prior to Dollar’s promotion, all three Gregory assistants shared the same title – assistant coach. His strong connections in the state – Dollar played at Douglass High and his father Don was a longtime coach in the metro area – have proven useful. Eight of the 13 scholarship players are from in-state.
“He has done a tremendous job in every key area of our program; academics, player development, recruiting, and game preparation,” Gregory said. “He is a very talented coach, a rising star in this profession.”