A native of Benton, Ill., Rich Herrin took a highly successful prep coaching resume to Carbondale, Ill., and transformed Southern Illinois University into a high-energy program that produced seven straight trips to the postseason.
Herrin resurrected a Salukis’ program that had won only 30 league games over a six-year span before his first campaign in Carbondale in 1985-86. After an 8-20 mark in year one, his teams posted back-to-back 12-win seasons, before a breakout campaign in 1988-89 that featured the first of six consecutive 20-victory seasons and a trip to the NIT. In 1989-90, the Salukis posted 26 victories, captured the MVC regular-season title, and advanced to the NIT.
The 1990-91 season featured 18 wins and postseason victories over Boise State and Missouri State before a loss to eventual NIT champion Stanford. Herrin’s Salukis won their second MVC regular-season crown in 1991-92 and again advanced to the NIT.
In 1992-93, Southern Illinois was 14-4 in league play, good for second place. The Salukis then defeated Illinois State in the finals of the State Farm MVC Championship for SIU’s first NCAA Division I Tournament trip since 1976-77.
The Salukis would also finish second in the MVC standings in 1994 and 1995. Competing as the second seed in Arch Madness, SIU again won the championship, making him the only coach in league tournament history to win 3 consecutive postseason championships. In all, Herrin coached 13 seasons with the Salukis, registering a 225-174 record and 111 league victories.
Prior to his arrival at SIU, he coached 29 high school seasons, compiling 677 victories.