Football

It's official: Tom Herman introduced as 30th coach in Texas history

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Story highlights
  • Houston coach is 22-4 in only two seasons with the Cougars.
  • Under Herman, the Cougars were 6-0 against ranked opponents.
  • Herman earned a master's degree at UT while working as a grad assistant under Mack Brown.

Posted November 26th, 2016

UPDATED 4:10 p.m. Saturday

University of Texas officials formally announced the hiring of Tom Herman as the team’s 30th head coach in school history in an afternoon email.

“The opportunity to come back to Texas is a dream come true for me and my family, and I can’t thank President (Gregory L.) Fenves and (athletic director) Mike Perrin enough for providing me with this incredible opportunity,” Herman said in a statement. “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.”

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Also, Herman said, “I want to thank the University of Houston, the administration, the fans and especially the players for an unbelievable two years,” Herman said. “My family and I will be forever grateful.”

An introductory press conference is scheduled for Sunday, according to UT officials.

“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.”

The following text was originally published earlier Saturday. 

 Texas officials whiffed on hiring their dream candidate three years ago in Nick Saban. Not this time around.

Texas President Gregory L. Fenves, once an admitted novice about college athletics, has pulled off a stunning move by hiring Houston coach Tom Herman to replace Charlie Strong. A source close to Herman confirmed the coach’s decision to the American-Statesman.

Herman, widely considered the nation’s hottest up-and-comer, has only two years of head coaching experience at Houston on his resume, but they are impressive nonetheless.

University of Texas Heisman Trophy winning running back Ricky Williams is saluted by the thousands as they lined Congress Ave. during a parade celebrating Williams and the UT football team's winning season Thursday afternoon January 29, 1999. Here Williams waves to fans in the highrises as he is flanked by Graduate Assistant football coaches Tom Herman, left, and Oscar Giles, right. (M.Kelly story)
Future Texas coach Tom Herman once rode in a parade with Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams on January 29, 1999, down Congress Ave. (Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman staff)

The Cougars are 22-4 over the last two seasons. During that span, Houston beat six consecutive ranked teams, including No. 9 Florida State in the Peach Bowl and No. 3 Oklahoma in the 2016 season opener. Houston also lost to Navy and SMU this season, bounced back to crush No. 3 Louisville only to finish the regular season with a 9-3 record after a loss to Memphis on Friday.

Still, it’s long been believed that Herman would crawl to Austin for a chance to coach the Longhorns. Just last week, Las Vegas oddsmakers had Herman as the only betting candidate to be Texas’ coach in 2017, according to Bovada. It was a Yes or No wager.

Herman was a receiver at Cal Lutheran from 1993-96 and then became a graduate assistant at Texas under former coach Mack Brown in 1999. During his two seasons with the Longhorns from 1999-2000, Herman earned his master’s degree.

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Herman became a receivers and special teams coach at Sam Houston State in 2001, worked at Texas State and Rice and then became Iowa State’s offensive coordinator in 2009.

Herman’s career really took flight when he became the offensive coordinator at Ohio State. With Herman at the offensive controls, the Buckeyes won the 2014 national championship with third-string quarterback Cardale Jones under center in the Big Ten title game and playoff wins over Alabama and Oregon.

Immediately after Ohio State won the national title, Herman ran around the field at AT&T Stadium wearing a Houston hat, promoting his new school.

Before his arrival at Houston, the Cougars ranked 60th nationally by scoring 29.8 points per game. Under Herman in 2015, the Cougars finished 10th nationally in scoring and averaged 40.4 points. They finished the year with a 13-1 record and won the Peach Bowl, the Cougars’ first New Year’s Day bowl game in 30 years.

Herman’s players performed off the field, too. In Herman’s first year, the Cougars saw dramatic improvements in team GPA, according to the school. This season, The New York Times reported on Herman’s penchant for kissing his players on the cheek before games.

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

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