When James Franklin took over as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions in January, he brought several staff members with him from Vanderbilt. One of those who followed Franklin to Happy Valley is offensive line coach Herb Hand. Aside from overseeing the line, he also has the official title of run game coordinator, a post he had last year at Vanderbilt.
A native of Westmoreland, New York, Hand attended Hamilton College where he earned a bachelor’s degree and played on the offensive line. He received a master’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan.
This marks Hand’s 25th year in coaching. Over the past four seasons at Vanderbilt, he made a name for himself by producing an outstanding offensive line and helping the Commodores establish an effective running game. In 2013, the Commodores rushed for 34 touchdowns, including a school-record 14 by running back Jerron Seymour.
Before heading to Vanderbilt, Hand had a successful tenure at the University of Tulsa from 2007-09. Twice, the Golden Hurricanes led the nation in total offense.
Hand brings a legacy of successful coaching with him to Penn State. This season, he’ll get a chance right away to show his skills. When Hand got to Happy Valley, he walked into a tough situation with the offensive line. NCAA sanctions have already caused depth issues on the line. Before the start of spring practice, defensive linemen Brian Gaia, Derek Dowrey and tight end Albert Hall were all switched to positions on the offensive line.
Things have since gotten tougher for Hand, as starting guard Miles Dieffenbach is out with a knee injury and experienced lineman Anthony Alosi is suspended infeinitely due to legal issues.
Even with the current issues on the offensive line, Hand has three experienced, talented running backs to work with in the running game. Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch will all be around in 2014 and will look to give the Nittany Lions a successful running game.
Based on his track record, Hand will be able to figure things out and do an effective job on both the offensive line and in the running game.
2010-13 – Vanderbilt (OL/Run Game Coordinator-2013)
2009 – Tulsa (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/OL)
2007-08 – Tulsa (co-offensive coordinator/OL)
2001-06 – West Virginia (TEs/recruiting coordinator)
1999-2000 – Clemson (offensive graduate assistant)
1997-98 – Concord College (defensive coordinator/special teams)
1994-96 – Glenville State College (defensive coordinator)
1991-93 – West Virginia Wesleyan (defensive graduate assistant)
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