(Editor's note: Montana State athletics release)
BOZEMAN -- Sean Herrin, a former football player at Carroll College with experience training athletes at competition levels ranging from elementary school to world-ranked Olympians, has joined Montana State Athletics as director of football strength and conditioning, director of athletics Leon Costello announced on Thursday.
Herrin has managed and directed athletic performance programs at Bozeman's PITT Training Facility since July, 2016, including three years (January 2017-January 2020) working as a consultant with the Bobcat football program. Herrin also had oversight of the internship and staff development programs at The PITT, which is owned and operated by former Bobcat All-America and NFL player Dane Fletcher, with responsibilities in the areas of budgets, fund-raisers, and seminars.
"There are a number of things that stood out about Sean," MSU football coach Jeff Choate said. "This is a guy who has trained everybody from first graders to Olympians to first round NFL Draft picks so he has a really wide range of experience, and on top of that he's a Montana guy. He's from Helena and played college football at Carroll. Things came together in a way that he makes perfect sense for us."
Herrin's hands-on experience with the Bobcat football program gave Choate and Costello unique insight into his ability. "We've had an opportunity to observe him work with student-athletes through the partnership we have with Dane Fletcher and The PITT here in Bozeman," Choate said. "That was invaluable in terms of being able to evaluate his knowledge of sports performance, but it wasn't just him interacting with players. We brought him in to talk about the mental edge, in the preseason he's talked with freshman about NFL combines, and our players developed respect for him."
In the summer of 2008, during his undergraduate career, Herrin served an internship with Velocity Sports Performance in Redmond, Washington. After graduating from Carroll College Herrin worked as a strength and conditioning specialist at Granite Health and Fitness in Billings from 2009-11, and at the same time he also served as an assistant coach for the Billings Outlaws indoor football team.
After relocating to California Herrin interned for UCLA's strength and conditioning staff (June-October, 2011) and for Athletes' Performance (January-May 2012). He was strength and conditioning coach at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach in the summer of 2012, then became Sports Performance Director at Velocity Sports' Redondo Beach, California, location. In July, 2016, Herrin returned to his native Montana to join former Bobcat star Dane Fletcher's staff at The PITT Training Facility in Bozeman. He held that position until arriving at Montana State.
During his athletic career Herrin benefited from some of the Montana's legendary coaches. He played high school football for Tony Arntson and basketball for Steve Keller at Helena High, and played football for Mike Van Diest at Carroll College. Herrin said there's no way to overstate the influence of those experiences on his career path. "That's one of the biggest reasons I'm in this field. I was very fortunate growing up, from my dad coaching me a little bit to Coach Keller and Coach Arntson to Coach Van Diest. The people who pushed me to be my best and challenged me, I feel like I owe it to them to prove them right and honor them in all the time they spent with me."
Costello indicated that Herrin's range of experience fits his new role. "We are excited to welcome Sean to the Bobcat Family," he said. "His experiences align with the strategic goals we have for the department and will contribute to continued success of the Bobcat football program."
Choate said Herrin's role will be more holistic than that of MSU's previous football strength and conditioning coach Alex Willcox, who returned to his native Iowa earlier this month. Herrin will coordinate Bobcat football's strength and conditioning program while working with other members the football support group to enhance the performance and well-being of MSU football players.
"This role transitions from a stand-alone strength and conditioning coach to a sports performance model that coordinates everything that helps student-athletes succeed," he said. "Sean will coordinate and communicate daily with Rob Higgs and our athletic trainers, Bozeman Health and the physicians and physical therapists, Brittany Patera and nutrition, and (student-athlete wellness director) Aaron Grusonik. From a football standpoint, Sean will oversee those aspects and help align them to develop our players to the best of their ability."
While embracing the integrated nature of his current role, which is part of an evolving philosophy in student-athlete development, Herrin said the importance of improving physically remains very personal to him. "As a kid I saw the benefits of training to an extent that it got me a college scholarship," he said, "and I'm the first one in my family to go to college, so it means a lot to me. I believe the benefits of training can change people's lives, and not just in a sense of getting somebody a college scholarship. The process of it teaches things that people take with them their whole lives."
Herrin graduated from Helena High in 2004, and from Carroll College in 2009. He played on three Fighting Saints national championship teams for Van Diest, and after completing his B.A. degree in Health and Physical Education and Business Administration in May, 2009, he earned his M.S. from A.T. Still University in Human Movement with a specialization in Sports Conditioning in 2012.
Herrin has begun his duties at Montana State.