CHAPMANVILLE — The Marshall University men’s basketball team made quite a run at the end of last season.
The Thundering Herd made a trip to the Conference USA Tournament championship game, advanced to the NIT and finished with a 21-14 record.
Marshall coach Tom Herrion hopes that kind of success continues next season.
Herrion was in town last week during the annual Marshall Coaches Caravan golf outing and luncheon at the Logan Country Club in Chapmanville.
Herrion joined Marshall AD Mike Hamrick, football coach Doc Holliday, radio play-by-play man Steve Cotton and others during the fundraising outing.
“I’m excited about where we are at and what we are coming off of this past season,” Herrion said about last season. “The last time Marshall played in the NIT was 1988. I was a junior in college then. This was a necessary next step for us. This is year two of our restoration. I didn’t come here to rebuild. I came to restore the great tradition that people like the great Jim Davidson and Mike and Dave D’Antoni and many many others had here.”
Herrion said there’s plenty of room for Marshall’s basketball program to improve.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” he said. “We played the fourth-best non-conference schedule in the country last year. We played in the championship game against Memphis. We were disappointed not making it to the NCAA Tournament and we were greatly disappointed in having to play in the road in the NIT. We still have to gain some respect at the national level but we’ve become relative and we’ve become relevant. I think that’s evident with our fans.”
Marshall saw its season come to an end with an 86-78 loss at Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NIT.
The Herd had advanced all the way to the C-USA final before falling 83-57 at Memphis.
Earlier in the conference tourney the Herd won a memorable 105-100 3-OT game over Tulsa.
Marshall closed out having won seven out of its last 11 contests, rebounding from a 1-6 mid-season stretch.
Herrion went 22-12 two years ago in his first season with the Herd as Marshall advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Marshall just announced last week it would be renewing the old I-64 rivalry with nearby Morehead State. It’s Marshall’s third-longest all-time basketball series next to the University of Charleston and Ohio University.
The Morehead State deal gives Marshall six non-conference dates so far.
The Herd will play Cincinnati (Nov. 15) and West Virginia (Dec. 5) at the Charleston Civic Center. Marshall faces UNC Wilmington (Dec. 1) in a return game from last season, and also goes to Akron (Dec. 29) and Ohio (Jan. 5) after the two Mid-American Conference teams visited Huntington last season, both beating the Herd.