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Herb Hand proved again in 2022 and 2021 why he qualifies as one of the top offensive line coaches in the nation--as all five of his UCF starters earned some sort of postseason honors in both seasons. UCF was the only American Athletic Conference team to have all five starters recognized by Pro Football Focus in both 2021 and 2022.
AAC coaches named tackle Ryan Swoboda and guard Lokahi Pauole to the 2022 all-league first team, while PFF tabbed guard Sam Jackson and center Matt Lee to its first team. Tackle Tylan Grable received third-team recognition from PFF. Pro Football Network selected Pauole to the All-AAC first team, Lee to the second team and named Swoboda as an honorable mention pick.
The Knights in 2022 dominated in terms of running the football, ranking ninth nationally (second in the AAC) at 228.4 yards per outing. That sort of production enabled UCF to also rank 16th nationally in total offense (469.6 yards per game) and score 32.9 points per contest. The Knights rushed for a season-high 345 yards versus South Florida, added 336 in the road win at 17th-rated Tulane and two other times hit the 300-yard mark (Florida Atlantic and Temple). The UCF line play helped running back Isaiah Bowser account for 16 rushing touchdowns (10th nationally and second in the AAC).
PFF named guard Cole Schneider to its second team of 2021 All-AAC performers-- Lee and Pauole made the third team, while tackles Jackson and Marcus Tatum both merited honorable mention notice. On the All-AAC squad selected by league coaches, Pauole made the second team, while Schneider and Tatum were honorable mention picks. In addition, Phil Steele selected Pauole and Tatum second-team all-league, while naming Schneider to the third team. PFN placed Schneider on the All-AAC second team and handed Lee and Jackson honorable mention recognition.
With the Knights claiming victories in six of their final seven games to close the 2021 season, Hand’s charges played key roles in leading a UCF offense that was forced to play major portions of the season without quarterback starter Dillon Gabriel, Bowser and receiver Jaylon Robinson. The Knights capped the year by running for 288 yards in their Gasparilla Bowl win over Florida--and only LSU with 321 ran for more versus the Gators in 2021. USA Today recognized that effort by selecting Lee to its all-bowl team.
Hand worked with Gus Malzahn at Tulsa in 2007-08 when they produced the number-one offense in the country and also coached the Auburn offensive line that helped the Tigers rank as one of three finalists for the 2017 Joe Moore Award as the top offensive line in the nation.
Hand joined Malzahn's UCF football staff on Feb. 18, 2021, and is in his third season in Orlando in 2023.
Before coming to UCF Hand spent three seasons as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Texas (2018-20) and enjoyed great success in stints at Auburn, Penn State, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Tulsa. He has coached in offenses that produced all-time leading rushers at West Virginia, Tulsa and Vanderbilt. Hand has worked with programs that produced six conference championships in addition to three division championships.
In both 2020 and 2019, both Texas center Zach Shackelford and left tackle Samuel Cosmi earned All-Big 12 honors. Cosmi was a unanimous first-team all-league pick in 2020 and went on to earn third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press. In his three years at Texas, Hand saw nine offensive linemen earn All-Big 12 recognition.
After Hand's unit paved the way for Texas to rush for 231 yards against 11th-ranked Utah in the 2019 Valero Alamo Bowl, the Longhorns' offensive line received all-bowl recognition from Sports Illustrated. Cosmi was recognized individually by the Associated Press and ESPN as an all-bowl performer for his Alamo Bowl showing.
In 2018, all five starting offensive linemen garnered All-Big 12 honors, led by center Shackelford's first-team recognition (AP). Calvin Anderson, Elijah Rodriguez and Patrick Vahe were honorable mention picks, while Cosmi received votes as the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and was a Freshman All-American.
A three-time finalist for Offensive Line Coach of the Year by Football Scoop (2008, 2016-17), 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.
Hand came to Austin from Auburn, where he served for two seasons as offensive line coach under Malzahn, whom he was previously co-coordinator with at Tulsa. 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 tenure at Vanderbilt, he coached players who earned 11 Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week Awards.
In 2017 Auburn ranked in the top 30 in the nation in total offense (26th/451.6 yards per game), scoring offense (27th/33.9) and rushing offense (26th/218.3), 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 year set a school single-season record.
Under Hand, right guard Braden Smith earned first-team All-America honors from Associated Press and also earned the SEC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top blocker in the conference. Left tackle Austin Golson was tabbed third-team All-SEC by Phil Steele. The line paved the way for running back 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.
In 2016, Auburn led the SEC and was sixth nationally in rushing with 271.3 yards per game. Two offensive linemen in Smith and left guard 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 line cleared the way for running back Kamryn Pettway to lead the SEC and rank 11th in the nation in rushing yards per game (122.4 yards per game). 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, an offensive tackle chosen by Tampa Bay.
Hand coached the offensive line at Vanderbilt from 2010-13, adding run game coordinator duties in 2013. In 2013, Vanderbilt's offensive line blocked for 34 rushing touchdowns, including a school-record 14 by running back Jerron Seymour. Hand helped center Wesley Johnson earn All-SEC honors in 2012 and 2013 and then end up selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. 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.
In 2007 quarterback Paul Smith passed for 5,065 yards, while running back 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. The offense led the nation with 543.9 total yards per game, was third with 371.0 passing yards per game and 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 yards per game) and passing (ninth/301.9) offense. The scoring offense ranked second with 47.2 points per game.
Hand spent six years (2001-06) at West Virginia, serving as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. He 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 with an offense that ranked second nationally in rushing, third in scoring and fourth in total offense.
Prior to West Virginia, 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 in 1997-98. He also was defensive coordinator at another West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference program, Glenville State, where he helped the Pioneers win three WVIAC Championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
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-New England Small College Athletic Conference honors in 1989. He earned a master's degree in business administration in 1993 from West Virginia Wesleyan while serving as a graduate assistant coach.
A native of Westmoreland, New York, Hand and his wife, Debbie, have three children—sons Trey and Cade and a daughter, Bailey.
|1991-93||West Virginia Wesleyan||Graduat Assistant|
|1994-96||Glenville State||Defensive Coordinator|
|1997-98||Concord College||Defensive Coordinator/Special Teams Coordinator|
|1999-2000||Clemson||Offensive Graduate Assistant|
|2001-06||West Virginia||Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2007-09||Tulsa||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line|
|2010-13||Vanderbilt||Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator (2013)|
|2014-15||Penn State||Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator|
|2018-20||Texas||Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line|