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Stockstill names Herrin defensive line coach

January 4, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee Head Football Coach Rick Stockstill announced today the hiring of Les Herrin as the Blue Raiders' defensive line coach. A veteran of 24 years in collegiate coaching, Herrin has been out of coaching the past two seasons.

"I am very excited that Les has decided to join our staff," Stockstill said. "He brings a wealth of experience in every facet of the game which is evident by winning a national championship and participating in eight bowl games. We have coached together for 10 years and he is one of the best teachers I have ever been associated with during my career. We're fortunate to have a guy like Les on our staff."

Once referred to as the "dean of football coaches at Clemson," Herrin spent 14 seasons on the Tigers' staff, having coached defenses for Danny Ford, Ken Hatfield and Tommy West. He was linebackers coach on Clemson's 1981 National Championship team.

Prior to joining Rick Stockstill's staff, Herrin was the defensive coordinator at The Citadel from 2001 to 2003. During Herrin's tenure at The Citadel, he has saw vast improvement on the defensive side of the football as well as having coached three All-Southern Conference performers in three seasons. Herrin was also instrumental in the play of two-time All-American linebacker and Buck Buchanan Award Finalist Travis Stephens. Herrin teamed with head coach Ellis Johnson to form two of the best defensive minds in the Southern Conference.

"For Rick to get this job at Middle Tennessee was like a younger brother getting the same opportunity," said Herrin. "Our relationship has been more than just coaching. It has been very personal for a long time. I am getting back into coaching because I want to help him with this great opportunity at Middle Tennessee. This is very exciting."

Herrin's leadership ability was evident at a young age when he was named captain of the football team in his playing days at Western Carolina. He was also the team MVP as a senior and defensive MVP as a junior. Herrin earned his B.S. degree in Education from Western Carolina in 1971 and his Master's degree in Health and Physical Education the following year.

After serving as defensive coordinator at Appalachian State in 1980, Herrin joined the Clemson staff in 1981 and guided the inside linebackers. At Clemson, he coached ACC MVP Jeff Davis, later a Tampa Bay Buccaneers' captain, and eventual 1989 all-pro linebacker Johnny Rembert of the New England Patriots.

Herrin had brief stints as defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach at East Carolina (1985-87) working for Art Baker, a former Citadel head coach. He also spent one season (1988) with Mack Brown as outside linebackers coach at the University of North Carolina before returning to Clemson as defensive line coach where he continued to produce nationally renowned defenses. In 1989 Clemson ranked fifth in the nation in rushing, scoring, and total defense. In 1990, the Tigers led the nation in total defense and were second in rushing and scoring defense.

In 1991, Herrin's defensive group led the nation in rushing defense and was instrumental in the Tigers' ACC championship as his players included the likes of Chester McGlockton, Brenston Buckner, and Rob Bodine, all of which were either all-Americans or all-pros (or both). In 1996, he coached Trevor Pryce, who later won a Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos. As a coach, Herrin participated in the 1982 Orange Bowl, 1989 Gator Bowl, 1991 Hall of Fame Bowl, 1992 Citrus Bowl, 1993 Peach Bowl, 1996 Gator Bowl, and the 1997 and 1998 Peach Bowls. Overall, Herrin has coached 12 players who went on to enjoy professional careers including three who earned Pro Bowl honors.

He began his high school coaching career, which spanned eight seasons, as an assistant at R/S Central High in Rutherfordton, NC (1972-74). He then became an assistant at Lexington Senior High in Lexington, NC (1975-76) and as athletic director and head coach at Central Davidson High in Lexington, NC (1977-79), where his teams went 29-6.

Born February 18, 1948, in Waycross, Ga., Herrin has a son, Deke.

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