Marcus Herford Enjoys Coaching Football Overseas
Marcus Herford played a key role in building the foundation for the success of the Cedar Hill High School Football Program.
Now, he’s leading athletes in the capital city (Berlin) of one of football’s emerging markets (Germany).
“The reason I coach is to give back to these young men and help them,” said Herford, a Cedar Hill High School Class of 2004 Graduate. “You get to see the world while you’re what you love.”
Herford is the Offensive Coordinator of the Berlin Thunder of the European League of Football (ELF). They’re scheduled to open the season this Sunday against the Leipzig Kings at Stadion Lichterfelde in Berlin.
Football has become so popular in Germany that the NFL is considering scheduling a few regular season games there.
Popularity is Growing
ELF has eight teams this season – six in Germany, one in Barcelona, Spain and one in Wroclaw, Poland. Herford said the league is expected to eventually expand to more than 20 teams.
Herford played professionally as a wide receiver in France and Turkey, and that sparked his interest in coaching overseas football.
He previously coached with teams in Kiel, Germany and Milano, Italy.
In order to grow the game in Europe, the teams can only have as many as four Americans on each roster at any time, and only two Americans on the field at any one time.
“A lot of these guys just started playing when they were 16 or 17 years old,” Herford said. “They have day jobs and families, yet they are still out here giving their all playing the game of football.”
Herford, 36, began playing football at a young age. He grew up in DeSoto, until his family moved to Cedar Hill when he was a high school freshman in 2000.
Herford didn’t know it at the time, but he was part of the foundation of the Longhorns’ launch as one of the great programs in Texas.
After the 2002 season, Herford and his teammates started a petition for then-Cedar Hill assistant coach Joey McGuire to be hired to fill the vacant head coach’s position.
It worked, and Herford was the first starting quarterback when the McGuire Era began in 2003. He was the first McGuire Era player to be offered a football scholarship.
The Longhorns went 6-4 in 2003 and missed the playoffs, but McGuire went on to lead the program to three UIL State Championships before accepting a coaching position with Baylor University Football – where he is currently the Associate Head Coach.
“I’m very proud of Marcus,” McGuire said. “He really helped change the culture at Cedar Hill.”
During his senior year, Herford made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver.
“Coach McGuire is one of the greatest men I’ve met in my life,” Herford said. “He really set the tone for my life with the different things he instilled as a coach like energy, excitement, and motivation.”
Herford’s first scholarship offer was from the University of Kansas, another football program that didn’t have much in the way of success historically. Herford committed early to the Jayhawks, who were able to sustain a late last minute recruiting push by University of Utah, then coached by Urban Meyer.
Football at Kansas
At Kansas, Herford was a four-year letterman and a member of the winningest class in Kansas Football History. As a junior, Herford was 2007 Big 12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Year when the Jayhawks finished 12-1 and defeated Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
He played alongside fellow Texan, quarterback Todd Reesing of Austin, whom he said played like “Johnny Manziel before Manziel” came along. One of Herford’s fellow KU receivers that season was fellow Cedar Hill Graduate Dezmon Briscoe.
Herford earned a degree from KU in African American Studies. He set his sights on a professional football career, attending a mini-camp with the Dallas Cowboys.
He followed that up by playing with the Green Bay Blizzard arena football team and for a few teams overseas.
Coaching at the Collegiate Level
Herford credits a conversation with former KU teammate Kevin Kane – who’s now the Associate Head Coach at the University of Illinois – with encouraging him to get into coaching at the college level.
In his first season as a coach, Herford was part of an NCAA Division II National Championship at Valdosta State University in Georgia. He also coached college football at Kentucky Wesleyan, Oklahoma Baptist and Oklahoma Panhandle State.
His dream would be to coach at the University of Kansas at some point during his career. The Jayhawks recently hired head coach Lance Leipold. They’re hoping to return the program to the heights it achieved between 2004-2008.