Drawn to Florida State by its championship-winning culture, fourth-year coach Keith Herston has already made significant contributions as the Noles’ jumps, pole vault and combined events coach for both the men and women.
The successor to the highly-accomplished 31-year veteran Dennis Nobles, Herston’s athletes have been major players in six ACC titles – four men and two women – and a pair of top-10 NCAA Championship finishes. The FSU men were sixth at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships and the women placed 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with Herston’s jumpers producing points in both meets.
Over his first three years his Noles have picked up 11 All-American honors, won five individual ACC titles and piled up 43 All-ACC honors, including 25 first-team selections.
Under his tutelage, Armani Wallace broke FSU’s indoor and outdoor triple jump records as a senior in 2019, and produced two of Herston’s three first-team All-American honors. Wallace took down the record of Olympian Rafeeq Curry, sailing 16.72 meters (54-10.25) indoors and 16.99 meters (55-9) outdoors, while placing fourth and third at the respective championship meets.
Rougui Sow, a graduate transfer, swept the ACC indoor and outdoor long jump titles and placed fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Along the way his athletes have added 21 new additions to FSU’s top-10 all-time lists. In addition to bringing out the best in elite athletes, Herston has developed former walk-ons Jacore Irving, Trentorria Green and Jeremiah Davis into All-ACC performers.
Davis was the second-ranked freshman indoors in the long jump in 2020, soaring 7.69 meters (25-2.75) to finish third at the ACC Indoor Championships. As a sophomore in 2019, Irving earned first-team All-ACC honors outdoors in both the triple jump and long jump, while Green – just a freshman – cracked FSU’s top-10 in the triple jump outdoors and went on to win the USATF U20 title.
Herston’s jumpers were huge at the 2020 ACC Indoor Championships, with the men scoring 55 of the Noles’ 140 points on the way to the title, including a 34-point haul in the long jump. It was the third consecutive indoor title for the Noles men. In 2019 his jumpers combined for 31 points. A year prior, in his first ACC Indoor meet with FSU, a 29-point scoring performance in the men’s long jump was the springboard to the title. In all, the jumps group accounted for 51 of FSU’s 91 points.
Herston’s work was acknowledged when he was named USTFCCCA Men’s South Region Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year.
Prior to his arrival in Tallahassee, Herston was responsible for developing 27 All-Americans, 38 individual conference champions and 21 school record-holders in eight full-time seasons as an assistant with stops at Sam Houston State, Texas State and Miami. He was a part of six conference championship teams, while also producing a pair of 2016 Olympic pole vaulters.
Herston has worked and learned alongside some of the very best over the course his coaching career, which began in earnest after graduating from Alabama in 2007, where he was a walk-on long jumper. An SEC Academic Honor Roll selection, he earned his undergraduate degree in human environmental science.
He joined the Auburn staff as a volunteer assistant in 2008 while pursuing his masters in kinesiology. There he worked alongside Jerry Clayton, currently the head coach at Michigan, assisting with the throws, jumps, combined events, sprints and hurdles. While at Auburn he earned his masters of education in kinesiology.
In his first year at Auburn he had a first-hand look as the Seminoles wrapped up what was then their third consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships team title by an eight-point margin over the Tigers.
Among his other mentors are UCF head coach Dana Boone, legendary Auburn coach Ralph Spry, USA Track & Field jumps coach Jeremy Fischer and USTFCCCA Hall of Fame coach Amy Deem at Miami.
A native of Greenhill, Ala., Herston holds USATF Levels 1 and 2 certifications and is GAIN Network certified.
He is and his wife, the former Tina Valenzuela, are expecting their first child in the fall of 2020.