Brad Herbster was named Pitt’s cross country and distance coach in August 2018, as announced by Panthers head coach Alonzo Webb.
“Coach Herbster comes to us with great credentials, championship experience and is highly recommended,” Webb said. “I made a commitment to our student-athletes to bring in one of the most respected and successful coaches in the nation to lead our cross country and distance student-athletes. One glance at his resume will tell you all you need to know about his ability to recruit and coach at the highest level. Coach Herbster shares my commitment to be one of the best distance programs in the ACC and have a national presence. Having recruited and coached in two Power Five conferences, the ACC and the Big 12, he understands what it takes to be successful. But what his resume doesn’t show is the high quality, high character man that he is and that is very important to me and a prerequisite in leading and influencing our student-athletes at Pitt. During his on campus interview I made it possible for him to meet with a group of our student-athletes and they gave me their stamp of approval as well. Coach Herbster is looking forward to continuing to elevate our team. Coach Herbster: congratulations and welcome to the Gold Standard!”
Herbster comes to Pittsburgh with 16 years of Division I collegiate coaching experience in tow. The Kingwood, Texas, native spent the past five seasons with the University of Texas, leading both the men’s and women’s cross country and distance programs. While in Austin, he helped his student-athletes claim eight individual Big 12 Conference titles, 12 conference runner-up finishes, seven USTFCCCA All-America performances with four first-teamers and one individual NCAA championship.
The 2018 outdoor track and field season saw much success for the Longhorns’ distance squad. Big 12 Conference Outdoor Track & Field Freshman of the Year Sam Worley won the program’s first 1500m conference title since 2008, setting a facility record of 3:44.63 at Waco’s Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium. He went on to earn fifth place in the 1500m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, landing on the All-America first team at 3:45.67.
Alex Rogers was runner-up in the 1500m at the Big 12 outdoor meet at 3:45.93, and John Rice claimed Texas’ first men’s 3000m steeplechase title since 2013 with a time of 9:02.00.
In 2017, Herbster guided Texas’ men’s cross country team to its eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship. The Longhorns had a strong showing at the NCAA South Central Regional Championship that saw four runners earn all-region honors, finishing in the top 25. Nate Moore and Robert Uhr both finished in the top 10 to take the Longhorns to their runner-up finish and advancement to the NCAA meet.
On the track in 2017, Herbster’s group broke two school records with Mary Beth Hamilton and Meghan Lloyd becoming the fastest Longhorns in program history in their events. Hamilton broke the record indoors in the mile with her time of 4:39.11 at the Husky Classic. She also move up the school’s top 10 list in the 800 meters to No. 7. Lloyd became the top steeplechaser in program history with her time of 10:20.37 at the Cardinal Classic. She nearly broke the record earlier in the season at the Texas Relays to give her two of the top five times in school history.
Before Texas, Herbster spent four seasons at Clemson University, from 2009-13, where the Tigers claimed ACC championships in women’s indoor and outdoor track and field in each of his years on staff. He was elevated from assistant coach to associate head cross country coach in 2012. Upon his departure in 2013, the women's team had produced eight consecutive NCAA top-20 finishes, culminating with a pair of top-five efforts in 2012 and two top-10 showings in 2013.
In 2011, Herbster coached Alyssa Kulik en route to her achievement of a fourth-place finish in the 3000m steeplechase at the NCAA Championships, earning the first All-America honor in women’s program history for the event. She earned a second consecutive All-America nod in 2012 and went on to compete at the Olympic Trials, finishing 15th.
In 2010, he coached Kim Ruck to All-America status with a seventh-place finish in the 5000m at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Ruck was also the ACC's indoor champion in the event, marking Clemson's first indoor female distance champion in the conference in 17 years. Herbster coached her to a school-record time in the 5000m. Ruck also earned a bid to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000m, finishing in 13th place. Ruck became the first Clemson female in 17 years to earn trips to all three NCAA national meets in the same calendar year when she competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall of 2010.
Herbster coached the distance athletes at Charlotte for seven years, from 2002-09. During his time with the program, he was an integral part of four consecutive women’s Atlantic-10 championships as well as three men’s A-10 team championships. He coached 35 conference champions (including relays) between indoor and outdoor track and field. In cross country, he mentored 28 all-conference performers, including the 2008 men’s and women’s individual champions. In Herbster’s first year as a Division I coach, the 49ers’ men’s cross country team won the 2002 Conference USA Championship, and Herbster earned Conference USA Coach of the Year honors.
Between his stints at Clemson and Charlotte, Herbster had produced totals of four all-America selections, seven all-region cross country runners, 30 all-conference honorees in cross country and 38 conference track champions.
Prior to joining the Charlotte program, Herbster spent four years as a high school coach in North Carolina. He coached cross country and distance events for North Mecklenburg High School for three years, where he produced six All-Americans and five state champions. He was named Coach of the Year by the Charlotte Observer in 2000-01. Following his time at North Mecklenburg, he spent one year at Hopewell High School in Huntersville, N.C., where he helped a startup track program finish second in its conference in its first year of existence.
Herbster earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in 1991, where he competed for the Gamecocks’ track and field and cross country teams. A specialist in the 3000m steeplechase, he was a three-time all-conference performer and his time of 9:08.57 in the event stands at No. 5 on the Gamecocks’ all-time performance list.
Herbster is married to the former Deborah Akins.