Tom Herman, right, arrives for a news conference where he was introduced as Texas' new head NCAA college football coach, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Austin. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Football

Pieces of Tom Herman’s coaching staff start falling into place

Herman interviews Strong's assistants, but none expected to be retained as new coach starts building his own staff

Posted November 28th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • “We were told to find jobs,” one of Charlie Strong’s assistants said.
  • Four Houston assistant coaches had their bios removed on the UH website.
  • Offensive, defensive coordinator positions are still open.

Texas coach Tom Herman met with Charlie Strong’s assistants on Monday, but none is likely to be retained, two sources told the American-Statesman.

“We were told to find jobs,” one of Strong’s assistants said.

During his introductory press conference on Sunday, Herman joked that “I’ve been here six hours.” But considering Texas is his dream job, it’s difficult to believe he hasn’t thought about his dream team.

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“The most important thing for me right now is the players in the locker room for the University of Texas and getting on the road recruiting,” Herman said. “We’ll let the staff piece kind of play itself out over the next couple of weeks, but (I) haven’t given it much thought.”

Houston Offensive Cooridator Major Applewhite of the Houston Cougars looks on during warm ups before the game against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on September 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston offensive coordinator Major Applewhite could come back to the Longhorns or possibly stay with UH and try to become the Cougars’ head coach. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

A UT spokesman declined to confirm that anyone had been hired, but the pieces were clearly falling into place. Four Houston assistant coaches had their bios removed from the UH website — offensive line coach Derek Warehime, defensive line coach Oscar Giles, tight ends coach Corby Meekins and special teams/cornerbacks coach Jason Washington.

A Houston source confirmed that all four coaches are expected to join the Longhorns.

Sports Illustrated reported that safeties coach Craig Naivar also will join Herman at Texas.

UH director of operations Fernando Lovo and recruiting director Derek Chang’s bios were also removed before 5 p.m. Monday. Reports in Houston have indicated strength coach Yancy McKnight will come to Texas and replace Pat Moorer.

UT President Gregory L. Fenves said both he and athletic director Mike Perrin view the football coach as “the CEO of the football program.” In that role, Herman “has responsibility and great latitude in putting a staff together, and we will be looking at his staff recommendations.”

When Strong came from Louisville in January 2014, he brought along three assistants and his director of operations, too.

All Texas assistant coaches’ contracts must be approved by the UT System Board of Regents.

Giles, an all-Southwest Conference defensive lineman at Texas in the early 1990s, was at the press conference on Sunday wearing a gray shirt with no school logo. He stood in the back of the room with a cellphone glued to his ear.

For a brief time on Monday, Warehime had a UT photo on his Twitter bio with a line stating he was the offensive line coach at Texas. After it got noticed, the UT-themed photo and language was quickly erased and replaced by a generic family photo.

It’s still unclear who Herman will tap to become his offensive and defensive coordinators.

Major Applewhite, Herman’s offensive coordinator at Houston, may not be allowed to return to UT considering his role in the ongoing legal battle between the university and Bev Kearney. The former track coach is suing the school for race and gender discrimination.

Kearney engaged in a romantic relationship with a track athlete during her time at UT. Her suit claims she was not treated fairly compared with Applewhite, who engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student trainer while he worked at UT.

Applewhite gave a deposition in the Kearney case in 2014. The transcript is still under seal.

Houston’s defensive coordinator Todd Orlando was named the Cougars’ interim head coach for the upcoming bowl game. Both Orlando and Applewhite are candidates to get the permanent UH job.

Meanwhile, LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, one of Herman’s long-time friends, reached a new three-year deal on Monday to stay with the Tigers. Herman could turn to former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads, who is now coaching defensive backs at Arkansas.

“We wouldn’t be able to do the things that we’ve done at the University of Houston without a great staff, and by that I mean the nine assistants, the strength staff, the support staff, and everybody around our program builds us up,” Herman said.

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

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