Keith Herston joined the Florida State track & field staff in August 2017 as the Seminoles’ jumps, pole vault and multi-events coach, replacing 31-year veteran Dennis Nobles.
With eight full-time seasons as an assistant under his belt after stops at Sam Houston State, Texas State and most recently, Miami, Herston hit the ground running for the Seminoles.
In his first season with the Seminoles the Florida State men and women swept the Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor team titles, while the men doubled up by winning the Outdoor title. Herston’s athletes played no small role in that success, producing three individual titles and 17 All-ACC honors.
Herston earned USTFCCCA Men’s South Region Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year honors in his maiden campaign in Tallahassee, after his charges produced 50 points of the teams’ 111-point total points at the ACC Indoor Championships. Kenneth Fisher won the long jump and finished eighth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, earning first-team All-American honors. ACC Field MVP Armani Wallace and Corion Knight joined Fisher at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the triple jump and long jump, respectively.
They were part of a group which produced six new FSU top-10 all-time marks during the indoor campaign; a season which saw 11 of his 13 athletes post new personal-best marks.
FSU’s jumpers provided similar results outdoors, equaling their 1-2-3 indoor sweep of the long jump led by Knight’s victory and Wallace adding a triple jump title. Knight, who was also the high jump runner-up, was the ACC Outdoor Field MVP.
His group added three more additions to the FSU top-10 all-time list, while Fisher (long jump) and Wallace (triple jump) each advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The Seminoles’ success under Herston came as no surprise. Prior to arrival, Herston was responsible for developing 27 All-Americans, 38 individual conference champions and 21 school record-holders. Between his three previous stops as a full-time assistant, he was a part of six conference championship teams, while also producing a pair of 2016 Olympic pole vaulters.
Herston was drawn to the position by Florida State’s “winning culture” and the opportunity to “win national championships.” As a volunteer assistant coach at Auburn in 2008, 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.
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, was selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and earned his degree in human environmental science.
“It’s been a long road and there’s doubt that God has had his hand on me, directing me where to go and putting the right people in my life,” Herston said. “As far as mentors go, I stand on the shoulders of giants in this business. What I know and what I’ve learned is because the effort and the time people have put into me and poured into me to help me be successful.”
Herston joined the Auburn staff as a volunteer assistant in 2008 while pursuing his masters in kinesiology. There he worked alongside coach Jerry Clayton with the throws, jumps, combined events, sprints and hurdles. Clayton is currently the head coach at Michigan.
Among his other mentors are newly-appointed UCF head coach Dana Boone and legendary Auburn coach Ralph Spry. USA Track & Field jumps coach Jeremy Fischer and Miami head coach and USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Amy Deem are also on that list.
Along the way Herston has developed his own coaching style and system, which along with athletic and academic careers, appear remarkably similar to those of Nobles – right down to the floppy hat he wears to shield the sun at practice. He earned an undergraduate from the University of Alabama in human environmental science and a masters of education from Auburn University in kinesiology.
A native of Greenhill, Ala., Herston holds USATF Levels 1 and 2 certifications and is GAIN Network certified. He married Tina Valenzuela in August, 2018.
Herston’s Coaching Resume
Florida State University, Asst. Coach/Jumps, Pole Vault & Multis, 2017-present
University of Miami, Asst. Coach/Jumps, Pole Vault & Multis, 2016-17
Texas State University, Asst. Coach/Jumps, Pole Vault & Multis, 2011-16
Sam Houston State University, Asst. Coach/Jumps, Pole Vault & Multis, 2009-11
Auburn University, Volunteer Coach 2008-09
Bevill State (Ala.) Community College, Asst. Women’s Coach, 2004-05