Austin – Herb Hand, a veteran offensive line coach who has helped coordinate numerous dynamic offenses in his 27 years of coaching, has been hired as co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Texas, head coach Tom Herman announced Wednesday.
“We are extremely excited and honored to be joining the Longhorn family,” Hand said. “We had a great situation at Auburn and were very happy there, but the opportunity to come to Austin, to work with Coach Herman and the Texas staff, to be a part of the history and tradition at The University of Texas, it was one we could not pass up.”
“Though we haven’t worked together or personally met before discussing our position, Herb is someone I’ve admired since our teams played each other at Rice and Tulsa,” Herman said. “I was extremely impressed then and have continued to be in the years since. As an aspiring young coach, I spent a great deal of time studying the best offenses around the country, and his group was continually one of them. They were as well coached up front as I’ve seen, so when I was looking to fill our 10th coach position and he was interested, we had a great visit, and we’re thrilled we were able to get him.”
Most recently at Auburn, Hand brings a resume that includes working with programs that produced six conference championships in addition to three division championships. Offenses Hand has coached on have produced all-time leading rushers at three different schools including West Virginia, Tulsa and Vanderbilt.
“Coach Herman and I had never officially met before we discussed this position, but we had competed against each other several times in the past,” Hand said. “We had developed a mutual respect for each other from afar and had studied each other’s work over the years. So when Tom called to talk about this opportunity, it was easily apparent that we are cut from the same cloth in terms of offensive philosophy and mindset.”
“Herb is a guy who is highly respected for his ability to develop players, build extremely successful offensive line units and help coordinate very successful offenses,” Herman added. “He came strongly recommended by coaches he worked with and is a tremendous addition to our staff.”
A three-time finalist for Offensive Line Coach of the Year by Football Scoop (2008, ’16-17), Hand was also co-coordinator for an offense that led the nation in total offense for two consecutive years (2007-08) at Tulsa, one of which is the only offense to feature a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000 yard receivers (2007). He has also coached five Freshman All-Americans.
“The University of Texas and Longhorn Football speak for themselves in terms of history, tradition and pride in college football,” Hand said. “The Longhorn logo, the burnt orange color, the words ‘Hook ‘em Horns’ are all iconic in the national landscape of college football. I’m very excited to recruit the best players in the country from the finest high school programs in the nation – located in the great state of Texas with the backing of those icons.
“Through recruiting over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to travel throughout the state and have developed some great relationships. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some former players, old teammates and the high school coaches I’ve met in the past.”
Hand comes to Austin from Auburn, where he served the past two seasons as offensive line coach under Gus Malzahn, whom he was previously co-coordinator with at Tulsa.
“My family and I are thrilled to come to Austin,” Hand said. “We have heard so many great things about the community from so many people who have spent time there, and we are excited to embrace the city and experience all Austin has to offer.”
While at Auburn, Hand’s offensive line was named one of three finalists for the Joe Moore Award (nation’s top offensive line) in 2017, and the unit was a semifinalist for the award in 2016. During that time, along with his time at Vanderbilt, he coached players who earned 11 SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week Awards.
Last season, Auburn ranked in the Top 30 in the nation in total offense (26th/451.6 ypg), scoring offense (27th/33.9 ppg) and rushing offense (26th/218.3 ypg), while ranking sixth in completion percentage (.668) and 15th in third-down conversion percentage (.455).
The Tigers balanced offense was one of only five nationally to average at least 230 yards passing and 215 yards rushing per game, along with Louisville, Oklahoma, Ohio State and South Florida. Auburn’s eight 40-point games during the season set a school single-season record.
Under Hand, RG Braden Smith earned All-America honors from all NCAA-recognized outlets including a first-team nod from the Associated Press, and a second-team selection from all others (WCFF, FWAA, AFCA and Sporting News). Smith also earned the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, as the top blocker in the conference, along with being named first-team All-SEC by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.
Along with Smith, LT Austin Golson was tabbed third-team All-SEC by Phil Steele. The line paved the way for RB Kerryon Johnson to rank 15th nationally in rushing yards per game (115.9) and ninth in rushing TDs (18), while being named SEC Offensive Player of the Year and second-team All-America.
The Tigers defeated both CFP Championship Game participants during the season in Alabama and Georgia, en route to a 10-win season and an appearance in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
In 2016, Auburn led the SEC and was sixth nationally in rushing with 271.3 yards per game. Both the scoring offense and total offense ranked in the Top 50 in the nation.
Two offensive linemen in Smith and LG Alex Kozan garnered second-team All-America honors and both were first-team All-SEC selections. Right tackle Robert Leff also took home All-SEC recognition. The offensive line was a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, and Hand was a finalist for Football Scoop's Offensive Line Coach of the Year award.
The line cleared the way for RB Kamryn Pettway to lead the SEC and rank 11th in the nation in rushing yards per game (122.4 ypg). Auburn finished 2016 with an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Hand went to Auburn after two seasons at Penn State as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. In 2015, the unit blocked for Big Ten Freshman of the Year Saquon Barkley as he set Penn State's freshman rushing record with 1,076 yards. In 2014, Hand's young offensive line steadily improved and produced second-round NFL Draft pick Donovan Smith, who was chosen by Tampa Bay.
Hand coached the offensive line at Vanderbilt from 2010-13, adding run game coordinator duties in 2013. In 2013, VU's offensive line blocked for 34 rushing touchdowns, including a school-record 14 by running back Jerron Seymour. Hand helped Wesley Johnson earn All-SEC honors in 2012 and 2013, and Johnson earned SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week four times before being selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Commodores' Ryan Seymour was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Hand's 2011-12 offensive lines were instrumental in Zac Stacy breaking the Vanderbilt season and career (3,143 yards) rushing records at that time.
Prior to Vanderbilt, Hand worked three years at Tulsa, serving as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Hand helped guide Tulsa to consecutive GMAC Bowl appearances behind one of the NCAA's most explosive spread offenses, while mentoring four Freshman All-Americans.
As Tulsa's co-offensive coordinator, Hand coached an offensive line that paved the way for the nation's top ranked offense in 2007 and 2008. He was a finalist for national offensive line coach of the year in 2008.
In 2007, the offense became the only offense in NCAA history to ever feature a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000-yard receivers. Quarterback Paul Smith passed for 5,065 yards, while RB Tarrion Adams rushed for 1,225 yards, and the trio of Brennan Marion (1,244), Trae Johnson (1,088) and Charles Clay (1,024) each topped 1,000 receiving yards. As a whole, the offense led the nation with 543.9 total yards per game, was third with 371.0 passing yards per game and was sixth with 41.1 points per game.
A year later, the offense averaged 569.9 total yards per game, while ranking in the top 10 in both rushing (fifth/268.0 ypg) and passing (ninth/301.9 ypg) offense. The scoring offense ranked second with 47.2 points per game. Quarterback David Johnson passed for 4,059 yards with 46 TDs, while Adams rushed for 1,523 yards and 14 TDs.
In 2009, Hand guided an offense that averaged over 400 yards per game, led by QB G.J. Kinne, who ranked 24th in the nation in passing efficiency and WR Damaris Johnson, who was 10th in the nation in receiving yards per game (94.3 ypg). Johnson led the nation in all-purpose yards (224.4 ypg).
Hand spent six successful years at West Virginia, serving as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Hand helped the Mountaineers win three Big East Conference titles and go to five straight bowl games during the span, including a 38-35 victory over SEC champion Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.
In 2006, West Virginia finished with an 11-2 record and had an offense that ranked second nationally in rushing, third in scoring, and fourth in total offense.
Prior to WVU, Hand served as an offensive graduate assistant at Clemson for two seasons (1999-2000), as the Tigers participated in the 1999 Peach Bowl and 2001 Gator Bowl.
Before that, he served as defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator at Concord College in West Virginia. He also was defensive coordinator at another WVIAC program, Glenville State, where he helped the Pioneers win three WVIAC Championships.
Hand earned his bachelor's degree in history from Hamilton College in 1990, where he was a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Continentals, serving as team captain and earning All-NESCAC honors in 1989. He earned a master's degree in business administration in 1993 from West Virginia Wesleyan while serving as a graduate assistant.
A native of Westmoreland, N.Y., Hand and his wife, Debbie, have three children, including two sons, Trey and Cade, and one daughter, Bailey.