Football

As the Texas CEO, Tom Herman wants to upgrade facilities, expand football staff

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Story highlights
  • Tom Herman: If Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan have it, “then we’re gonna have it.”
  • Multiple new jobs already posted by Texas human relations department.
  • New coach going so far as to look for football-only nutritionist, director of creative social media content.

Posted January 5th, 2017

Charlie Strong was a football coach. Tom Herman is a CEO.

The striking difference between the two coaches was on full display Thursday during a 45-minute press conference inside the Moncrief-Neuahus Athletic Center.

Strong always shrugged off worries about UT’s now-outdated facilities, and he never seemed interested in the college football arms race. “We have everything we need,” he said. And Strong was eventually dismissed after three straight losing seasons.

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Herman, the new coach, talked at length about the need to upgrade the facilities and build out the football staff infrastructure in a way that reflects what Texas football truly is — a $120-million revenue driver for UT athletics.

Texas coach Tom Herman from a press conference when he updated the local media about his coaching staff on Thursday, Jan 5, 2017. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas coach Tom Herman from a press conference when he updated the local media about his coaching staff on Thursday, Jan 5, 2017. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“I think more is always good, to a certain point,” Herman said. “If Alabama has it, if Clemson has it, if Ohio State and Michigan have it, then we’re gonna have it. That’s the reality of college football, and until they tell us that we can’t, we’re going to.”

In a wide-ranging press conference, Herman talked at length about his staff and defended the hiring of offensive coordinator Tim Beck from Ohio State. Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones and current Buckeye signal caller J.T. Barrett gave Herman a thumbs-up on the hire, and “I think that negativity was misplaced on him,” he said.

But it was Herman’s comments about the program’s inner workings that should really get fans’ attention.

Herman said that on Tuesday he walked the football complex with his chief of staff Fernando Lovo and UT athletic administrators Mike Perrin and Arthur Johnson. Herman pointed out where Texas need to upgrade here, there, practically everywhere.

The school has long wanted to expand Royal-Memorial Stadium. It was former athletic director DeLoss Dodds’ dream to build a south end zone. His successor, Steve Patterson, wanted to add more suites and club seats rather than spike overall stadium capacity.

To do that, it would require a complete overhaul of the football complex, a project that could take years. As of now, those plans are nothing more than dreams on paper.

“My job is to tell (UT President Greg) Fenves and Mike Perrin what we need to compete at a championship level,” Herman said. “So obviously, the graphics in the hallways, we need to modernize a lot of that. We need to modernize our locker room. That’s the place where our kids spend a big portion of their time, and then we need to update the weight room and reconfigure it a little bit.

“Those are kind of areas A, B and C and we’re full steam ahead on all of those,” he added.

From a facilities standpoint, Herman said Texas is “behind, but not by much.”

[brightcove_video video_id=”5272039846001″ caption=”Texas’ head football coach has a new coaching staff and big plans for the program’s athletic facilities. American-Statesman sport writer Brian Davis and columnist Kirk Bohls break down Tom Herman’s first press conference of 2017 held on January 5.”]

“Nothing that a multi-million dollar facelift can’t fix,” Herman said. “We’ve got to find a way to intertwine all of the history and tradition here but also make this a place that is appealing to 17-year-old young men.”

Herman also wants to increase the size of the football staff. The school has already posted job openings for a director of creative media and a director of on-campus recruiting. The department is also hiring a quality control assistant to work with special teams.

Herman praised athletic department nutritionist Amy Culp. “But I’m gonna fight to give her one more person that will be a full-time person that is football only,” he said.

Texas isn’t even remotely close to comparative schools when it comes to staff size. The Longhorns usually had less than 30 people total coming and going inside the program under Strong.

Alabama has nine football analysts, two directors of player development and three assistants just for recruiting purposes alone. Ohio State has two directors of player development and four quality control assistants.

“That one analyst that finds that one nugget that makes you call that one play because you saw this one tip in that one alignment, and your (defensive back) steps in front of a pass for the game-winning interception, it was worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars to win that championship game on that play,” Herman said.

Texas football generated a $94.8 million surplus during the 2014-15 academic year, according to the most recent audited figures. That money goes to fund the rest of the athletic department, though.

The Longhorns haven’t had a serious capital campaign in years, and other projects take priority. The school will need to build a new basketball arena to make way for Dell Medical School expansion. Fenves has said he envisions a 10,000- to 12,000-seat venue that could cost $250 million.

“I think you should always have some capital project in football going on all the time of varying levels,” Herman said. “It’s kind of like painting the Golden Gate bridge: As soon as you get done, you’ve got to start over.

“You’ve to to constantly be doing things and going back to, ‘OK, we did that 10 or 15 years ago, it’s time to go back and redo that.’ As we’re finishing up X project, we’re starting on Y project and Z project is waiting down the road.”

Spoken like a true CEO.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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