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Herring (37) has signed a three year deal with Otago and would take over from Cory Brown, who has moved on to the Highlanders.
The former Highlanders and Hurricanes loose forward had previously been assistant coach to Otago in 2016 and had also worked with the Highlanders.
He moved to Japan last year to work as the defence coach with both the Sunwolves Super Rugby team and the Japanese national side.
But he returned to New Zealand a couple of months ago and has now successfully won the Otago job, which was hotly contested.
Herring said he was excited to get the job.
"I’m delighted to get the role and can’t wait to get started," Herring said.
"It is something I have been working towards in my career. For me, I really wanted to have a total rugby experience with my coaching and learn lots of different things."
He is married to Wal, with three children, aged 8, 6 and 4, and the Herrings are due to have a fourth child in March.
He decided to return to New Zealand a couple of months ago, as his role with the Sunwolves and Japan was too hard on the family.
Herring was a tearaway flanker in his playing days but concussion ended his playing career early. He moved into coaching straight away and has coached in England, Japan and Canada.Herring and the union will meet in the new year to discuss his support team. He starts officially in February and is living in Piha with family at the moment.
Former Otago lock Tom Donnelly had been the side’s assistant coach this year, in his first coaching role, while manager Grant Hubbard had moved on after six years in the role.
Donnelly and Herring were both forwards coaches so there may not be room for both.
What shape the manager role will take will be decided later.
Meanwhile, former Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett has been appointed coach of the Southland Mitre 10 Cup side.Hewett (46) replaces Hoani MacDonald, who resigned after two years.