Texas football: Tom Herman named new head coach
AUSTIN, Texas — A former University of Texas graduate assistant with deep ties to the state of Texas, including the last two seasons as head coach at Houston, Tom Herman has been named the 30th head football coach at The University of Texas, men's athletics director Mike Perrin announced Saturday. Herman will be introduced at a Sunday news conference at a time to be announced later. The contract is pending approval by the UT System Board of Regents. Details will be released shortly thereafter.
"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," Herman said. "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."
"I'm thrilled to have Tom Herman joining us as our head football coach," 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."
Herman comes to Texas after compiling a 22-4 record in two seasons at Houston, the fourth-best record in the FBS in that span. His first season as head coach at Texas will mark his 14th spent in the state of Texas out of 20 years coaching on the collegiate level. That includes his time as a graduate assistant at UT (1999-2000), where he earned a master's degree in education.
"While working as a graduate assistant coach at UT and earning my master's degree, I learned so much about college football from mentors like Mack Brown and Greg Davis," Herman said. "I had been a Division III college football player with my only coaching experience at Texas Lutheran when I was hired, and UT thrust me into major college football and helped build the foundation for my career."
Following his first season at UH, Herman was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson and Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Awards, while also being chosen as the Football Writers Association of America's First-Year Coach of the Year and the American Athletic Conference's Co-Coach of the Year.
"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."
Herman became just the fourth head coach in NCAA history with at least 13 wins in a rookie season, joining Chris Petersen (Boise State - 2006), George Woodruff (Penn - 1892) and Walter Camp (Yale - 1888), and just the fifth head coach in NCAA history to win the first 10 games of his career, joining Petersen, Larry Coker (Miami (Fla.) - 2001), Woodruff and Camp in accomplishing the feat.
He led the Cougars to their first New Year's Bowl in 30 years, its second 13-win season in program history and its 11th conference championship in program history by claiming the inaugural AAC Championship. He led all FBS coaches in their first year with a program with 13 wins as Houston finished third nationally with a 92.9 winning percentage at 13-1.
With a 38-24 win over No. 9 Florida State in the Peach Bowl, Herman joined College Football Hall of Famer Bill Yeoman as just the second coach in Houston history with a win in one of the New Year's Six bowls and the second with a bowl victory over a top 10 opponent. Houston ended the 2015 season ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches polls, its highest finish since ranking No. 5 in 1979, and just the sixth time in program history to finish in the top 10.
Houston was one of just two schools nationally to play at least four ranked opponents in 2015 and remain undefeated in those contests, while it was one of eight teams nationally with at least four wins against ranked opponents. Three of those wins came by double-digits, the fourth-best total in the nation.
Under Herman's leadership, Houston was third nationally with seven wins of 21 points or more and had 10 wins by double-digits. Houston's lone loss, a 20-17 decision at UConn, came without starting quarterback Greg Ward Jr., and most of the game without defensive leader Elandon Roberts, who led the nation with 88 solo tackles.
Ranking 10th in scoring offense (40.4 points per game) and 21st in scoring defense (20.7 points per game), Houston was the only program in the nation to rank in the top 10 in scoring offense and the top 25 in scoring defense. UH ranked fifth nationally with an average margin of victory of 19.7 points per game. The Cougars ranked eighth nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 108.9 yards per game, while ranking 13th in rushing offense with an average of 235.8 yards per game. Houston was the only team in the nation to rank in the top 13 in both categories.
In Herman's first semester at Houston, the UH Football program set the mark for most hours passed per student-athlete in a spring semester with an average of 13.5 hours per student-athlete. The team recorded its highest semester GPA in the last four years, and third-highest spring semester GPA in program history, to bolster its cumulative GPA to the second-highest mark in program history.
In 2016, Herman guided his program to a 9-3 record, including wins over No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 3 Louisville. Houston became the first program nationally to defeat two top-five teams. Herman's Cougars join Alabama as the only two teams in the nation with double-digit wins over two top-10 teams this season.
Houston has ranked as one of the most efficient and disciplined teams in the country under Herman this season, as their offense is ranked 34th and the defense 15th. The Cougars are one of the least penalized teams in college football, committing just 56.
Offensively, UH ranks 15th in third down conversions, sixth in completion percentage, ninth in first downs and 21st in scoring offense in 2016. Ward led the Cougars offense, as he was named a semifinalist for both the Davey O'Brien Award and The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. He finished the regular season with 3,328 passing yards and 518 rushing yards. He was 294-of-435 (67.6 percent) passing, ranking in the top 12 nationally in completion percentage, completions per game and passing yards. He had 31 total touchdowns in 12 games. For his career, Ward is fifth in Houston history with 8,202 passing yards, 52 touchdown passes and 699 completions.
Defensively, Houston features the nation's third-ranked rush defense in addition to the nation's 15th-best defense in total yards allowed. The Cougars are third nationally with five defensive touchdowns on the season and are allowing just 22.6 points per game. They also rank as one of the nation's best in bringing pressure, ranking in the top 20 in sacks (13th) and tackles for loss (19th). Freshman DT Ed Oliver, an All-America candidate, ranks sixth nationally with 19.5 tackles for loss. He has added seven quarterback hurries and leads all defensive linemen nationally with his nine pass breakups. LB Steven Taylor, the Cougars leading tackler with 72 on the season, is ranked 26th nationally with 8.5 sacks. As a team, Houston finished the regular season with 90 tackles for loss and 37 sacks.
Prior to his arrival at Houston, Herman helped develop record-setting and explosive offenses in each of his 10 seasons as an offensive coordinator, including three seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State where he won the 2014 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. He helped the Buckeyes win the 2015 College Football Championship (following the 2014 season) with third-string quarterback Cardale Jones under center in wins over Alabama and Oregon, and a Big Ten Championship win over Wisconsin.
Herman's 2014 Ohio State offense finished the season ranked fifth in scoring offense at 44.8 points per game and ninth in total offense at 511.6 yards per game despite losing Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Braxton Miller prior to the season. With freshman J.T. Barrett taking over the reins, Herman molded the quarterback into a formidable leader who finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was named a FWAA Freshman All-American.
The Buckeyes claimed the 2014 Big Ten Championship with a 59-0 win over Wisconsin as Herman's offense rolled to 558 total yards with Jones under center after an injury to Barrett in the regular-season finale.
The offense continued to roll in Ohio State's 42-35 College Football Playoff semifinal win over Alabama. Facing a defense that entered the game ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense at 16.6 points per game, Herman's offense exploded for 42 points and 537 total yards. The balanced attack yielded 256 passing yards and 281 rushing yards.
In the championship game against Oregon, Herman's offense piled up 538 total yards with 242 through the air and 296 on the ground in a 42-20 win. The 42 points marked the most scored on Oregon in the 2014 season.
Herman's quarterbacks in 2014 ranked second nationally with a team passing efficiency rating of 167.72, while Barrett was second nationally with a rating of 169.8 and sixth nationally with an Ohio State record 34 passing touchdowns while also adding 11 touchdowns on the ground for a Big Ten record of 45 touchdowns responsible for. The Buckeyes' offense was sixth nationally with an average of 6.98 yards per play and second nationally with 46 plays of 30 yards or longer and 17 plays of 50 yards or longer.
Barrett, the Big Ten's 2014 Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year, was one of four offensive players to receive All-Big Ten honors in 2014 and was the third offensive player to receive a major Big Ten award under Herman's leadership as Carlos Hyde was named the 2013 Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year and Miller was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.
After leading the Big Ten in scoring in 2012 at 37.2 points per game and ranking 10th nationally in rushing at nearly 250 yards per game, Ohio State's offense under Herman went to a new level in 2013 by ranking third nationally in scoring with 45.5 points per game and fifth in rushing with 308.6 yards per game.
The Buckeyes were successful through the air as well. Among the 12 single season records to fall in 2013 were most touchdown passes (38) with top-five school totals in passing yards (2,846), attempts (368) and completions (238). Additional records were set in rushing yards in a season (4,321 yards, which also is a Big Ten Conference record), most total touchdowns (82) and most total offensive yards (7,167), yards per play (7.1) and yards per game (511.9).
Miller finished fifth and ninth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Additionally, he set the school record for total offense and was a finalist for the Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards in 2012 and in 2013 he led the Big Ten in passing efficiency.
Herman, who was named the 2013 Rivals.com Big Ten Recruiter of the Year and national Top 25 recruiter, arrived in Columbus after spending three years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Iowa State.
During his time Iowa State from 2009-2011, Herman's well-balanced offense was very evident as Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud ended his career as the Cyclones' No. 2 all-time leading passer with 6,777 yards and 42 touchdown passes, while running back Alexander Robinson finished his Iowa State career as the Cyclones' fourth all-time leading rusher with 3,309 yards.
Herman spent 2007 and 2008 as offensive coordinator at Rice before heading to Iowa State. During his two seasons with the Owls, his offenses broke over 40 school records and, in his second season, the Owls won 10 games and went to a bowl for the first time since 1954.
Rice ranked in the Top 10 nationally in 2008 in passing offense (fifth; 327.8), scoring offense (t-eighth; 41.6) and total offense (10th; 472.3). Two Rice receivers had more than 1,300 yards receiving that year. Tight end James Casey had 111 catches and quarterback Chase Clement was the Conference USA MVP.
Rice's spread attack completed nearly two-thirds (65.6 percent) of its passes, and its touchdown-to-interception ratio of 48-to-7 was an NCAA FBS best. The quick-strike Owls had 30 scoring drives of five plays or less in 2008 and 31 scoring marches of less than two minutes.
Prior to Rice, Herman directed offensive attacks for two years (2005-2006) at Texas State, where Bobcat squads led the Southland Conference in total offense. The 2005 Texas State club was eighth nationally in scoring and made a run to the FCS semifinals in the school's first appearance in the Division 1-AA playoffs. Herman also worked four years (2001-2004) as an assistant coach at Sam Houston State as special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach, helping them to a pair of conference titles and trips to the FCS semifinals and quarterfinals.
The job with SHSU was his first after his time as a graduate assistant at Texas, where he assisted with the offensive line on the Longhorns' Cotton and Holiday Bowl teams. He received his coaching start in 1998 as a wide receivers coach at Texas Lutheran.
Herman was born in Cincinnati and still has family there. He was raised in Simi Valley, California, and he played collegiately as an All-Conference wide receiver at California Lutheran, in Thousand Oaks, graduating in 1997 with a degree in business administration. He received a master's in education from the University of Texas in 2000.
Herman and his wife, Michelle, have a daughter, Priya, and two sons, TD and Maverick.