The worst kept secret in college football is now out in the open.
Just hours after announcing the dismissal of Charlie Strong, Texas has officially tapped his replacement, naming Tom Herman as the 30th head football coach in the program’s history. The announcement is the culmination of a couple of months worth of rumors, with speculation heating up over the past 24 hours or so. It also comes a little more than 24 hours after Herman stated “don’t believe anything you read” in chiding a reporter who asked about the speculation swirling around him.
Herman informed Houston of his decision to leave for Texas Saturday morning. A short time later, at a team meeting early on in the afternoon, he informed his players.
“I’m thrilled to have Tom Herman joining us as our head football coach,” athletic director Mike Perrin said. “I am impressed with his insights on college sports, football and academic success, and his philosophy of developing the student-athlete into the complete person. He clearly has a passion and respect for the game of football, and also, a passion for teaching young men the game and the life lessons that come with that.”
“In Tom Herman, Longhorn football is getting a proven competitor, terrific recruiter, and committed mentor of student-athletes who has shown his ability to succeed at all levels,” UT president Gregory L. Fenves said. “Tom was the hottest young head coach in the country the past two seasons, and I am thrilled we are able to get him back to UT to lead Texas football.”
LSU had also pursued Herman — they were reportedly set to meet Saturday — but, when it became obvious that he had his eyes on his dream job at Texas, the Tigers turned to interim head coach Ed Orgeron for the permanent opening.
The move to Austin is a homecoming of sorts for Herman as he served as a graduate assistant for the Longhorns in 1999 and 2000. That was his first coaching job at the FBS level.
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) November 26, 2016
“The opportunity to come back to Texas is a dream come true for me and my family, and I can’t thank President Fenves and Mike Perrin enough for providing me with this incredible opportunity,” a statement from Herman began. “Longhorn football has been – and always will be – a national power, winning and playing for national championships with great pride and passion, supported by an unbelievable fan base.
“When President Fenves, Mike and I met late last night and into the morning, I came away very impressed with their unified vision and commitment to football, and I’m excited to be the head coach at the flagship university of the greatest state in the union. I am eager to get to Austin as soon as possible, to spend time with our student-athletes and to get to work.”
An Ohio native, Herman began his coaching career at Texas Lutheran in 1998 and has had deep connection to the state ever since. In fact, his first 11 years in the profession were in the state of Texas — the two jobs previously mentioned, plus Sam Houston State (2001-04), Texas State (2005-06) and Rice (2007-08). Even after that last job, Herman remained connected to the Big 12 as the offensive coordinator at Iowa State from 2009-11.
Following a three-year stint as Ohio State’s coordinator, he left for his first head-coaching job at any level with Houston.
At UH, Herman has gone 22-4. He went 13-1 his first season, then won his first five games in 2016. Since then, however, the Cougars have gone a middling 4-3 after being viewed as a potential crasher at the College Football Playoff party.
Against ranked teams, Herman has gone a sparkling 6-0 as head coach. However, he’s lost four games to unranked teams as double-digit favorites.
So, in the end, Texas got their man. The question now, is he the man for the job?