Herman starts journey as men’s basketball coach


Chris Herman was appointed Illinois Valley Community College head men’s basketball coach after serving six seasons as assistant coach under Tommy Canale. Canale announced his resignation as head coach and athletic director in late July after serving in those roles for seven seasons.

“It’s a journey; we’re just going to take it one day at a time,” Herman said when asked about beginning this new chapter in his career. Coaching young men has always been a part of Herman’s life both on the court and off. He has served as director of IVCC’s Project Success since 2008, which is a federally funded TRiO program that helps empower students in achieving their academic goals and life-long success. He has already used this empowering philosophy to help his new team by organizing Wednesday night study groups and insisting on academic accountability.

Herman took the assistant coach position at IVCC after spending three years as an assistant at Pratt Kansas Community College and three years as an assistant at John A. Logan College. He also served as an assistant at Illinois Central College from 1995 to 1999 where he worked under his father. “I’ve been around the game of basketball since I was five years old,” said Herman. “My dad coached the game for 32 years; there was a lot I learned from him.”

When asked about his strengths, Herman noted, “I’ve got a great feel for the game. I can see certain matchups and I also have an eye for talent.” An example of this eye for talent is an interesting story Herman shared about a young recruit from Riley County High School in Riley, Kan. “There was this big, tall kid who was just dunking the ball every time he got it,” Herman said. “When I started talking to him about college offers he told me that he was leaning towards playing football.” That young recruit turned out to be Jordy Nelson, who is now a wide-receiver for the Green Bay Packers.

Herman said his focus in the early part of the season is to build chemistry and trust with his team and that he is looking for commitment. “The cupboard isn’t bare,” he said referring to the players on the current roster and the possible recruits for the future. He has already started building relationships with local high school coaches to keep the talent flowing.

The 2014-2015 season officially kicks off with the annual Jamboree which will be Oct. 13 at IVCC. It will include teams as diverse as Planet Athlete from Phoenix, Ariz., and Midwest Elite from Maryville, Ind. “It’s a good opportunity to play against some talent and help build our chemistry for the season ahead,” Herman stated. “It puts you in that live-game situation you can’t recreate in practice or scrimmage.”

Herman graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with both his master’s and bachelor’s and also served in the US Army for 26 years.