The Truman State University football team has established a run-first and winning-in-trenches culture during the last two years. In late March, the Bulldogs announced the latest addition to their coaching staff hiring Dan Hernandez as their new offensive line coach.
The offseason addition to the Bulldogs’ coaching staff is tied to Truman’s previous offensive line coach, Chris Symington, who took a coaching position at another school.
“We love and respect coach [Symington],” head coach Gregg Nesbitt said. “He did a great job for us. In the two years he was here, he helped shape the mindset and culture of the offensive line.”
Since his start before the 2016 season, Symington’s offensive line created more rushing yards per game and a higher fourth-down conversion percentage. The Bulldogs ranked second in the conference in both categories last season. In his two years at Truman, the Bulldogs’ scoring improved by nearly 10 points per game.
Taking his place is Hernandez, a graduate from Upper Iowa University where he was a two-year team captain. Hernandez spent time coaching at Florida International University, Northwestern University and, most recently, Towson University. With a rich football background, Hernandez said he can be a great asset to the Bulldogs’ coaching staff.
“I’m excited to be here, and I’m ready to give everything I can to the program,” Hernandez said. “Truman has a great program, and I want to leave it even better than I found it. And I want to be a mentor to the players that I coach every day, both personally and in football.”
Hernandez is excited about his future at Truman because he is eager to return to the Midwest. Hernandez has family in Chicago, so he is looking forward to moving back to the area and being around Truman football again.
“I remember playing against Truman and remembered how good they were,” Hernandez continued. “Playing against Truman back then and knowing what a strong history this program has really drew me to Truman.”
Hernandez inherits a fairly young offensive line but has a few strong veteran players. One returner is junior Nick Verbeck, Second-Team All-GLVC player.
“With coach Hernandez coming in, I don’t think we’ll miss a beat,” Verbeck said. “There may be a few road bumps to begin with, but it’s the same group of hard-working guys here with the same common goal to be conference champs again.”