Bad news for Commodore fans. Offensive Line Coach Herb Hand, an assistant who predated James Franklin and who was largely responsible for keeping Vanderbilt's 2014 recruiting class together after Franklin's departure, won't be with the 'Dores this fall. Hand broke the news with a heartfelt goodbye on Twitter this evening.
Many thanks for four great seasons. #BOB pic.twitter.com/2AbEOwAagF— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) January 21, 2014
Hand did not mention where the next step in his coaching career will take place. However, he has been linked to Franklin's new staff at Penn State since the former Vandy head coach made the move to Happy Valley.
Update: Assistant Coach Charles Bankins says Hand will be going to PSU.
Sorry to see @CoachHand leave us to go to PSU. We had a great run together. We wish the hand family nothing but the best. #AnchorDown.— Charles Bankins (@FBCoachBankins) January 21, 2014
Vanderbilt will have to move on without one of the most energetic and interesting personalities the team has ever had on the sidelines. Hand became a fan favorite for actions like interacting with fans on Twitter, doing the worm at team meetings, and cooking well enough to become a finalist during auditions for the Food Network show Chopped. Mason has already brought on a pair of offensive specialists from Ohio to pad his coaching staff. They include Kevin Lightner, who held Hand's position with the Bobcats, and Gerry Gdowski, who was the assistant offensive coordinator in Athens. Either one could end up filling Hand's shoes on the Dudley Field sideline.
We'd like to wish Coach Hand the best wherever he ends up. His efforts did not go unnoticed in Nashville, and this team would not have had the success that they did in the past four years without him.