The Houston Cougars are 7-0 and ranked 18th in the latest AP poll. The only schools in Texas ranked higher than Houston are Baylor (#2) and TCU (#5). Glaringly absent from the AP top 25 is the state’s flagship programs Texas and Texas A&M.
Naturally the early success the rookie coach has been having on Cullen Boulevard has led to countless speculation that Coach Herman will soon leave Houston for a job at a Power 5 conference program. USC, Miami, and South Carolina are all looking for a new coach and the 2015 season is barely three-quarters finished.
Will He Leave?
Obviously, the only person that knows the answer to this question is Tom Herman. But I think Coach Herman may be in Houston longer than most people think. He knows he can recruit very well in Houston and he can build up a legacy here. There’s also still a decent probability that the Cougars are in a Power 5 conference within the next five years.
If Coach Herman only cared about being at a bigger name program, he could’ve stayed at Ohio State another year, watched his stock rise, and then taken a P5 coaching gig. He also knew he’d have his work cut out for him getting the program attention in the over-saturated Houston sports market, but has seemed to embrace the challenge.
Even though Houston is in the American Athletic Conference, coach Tom Herman has shown that the Coogs can recruit like a Big 12 school in spite of not having the same level of resources. The Houston metropolitan area has arguably the greatest collection of high school talent in the country. We’re not only becoming a magnet for players who want to stay local to play in front of friends and family, we’re also becoming attractive to players who want to transfer back home because they’re either homesick or didn’t get enough playing time.
Also, there’s a huge commitment from the school towards athletics. President Renu Khator and athletics director Hunter Yurachek are very shrewd and are working hard at pushing the Coogs’ forward. The university is firing on all cylinders to improve the school as well as the athletic programs. We’ve got a new football stadium and are about to open a new basketball development center. The school is also working on plans to renovate Hofheinz, add a baseball development facility, and also a football-only indoor practice center and weight room.
I can’t stress how important it is for the football program to have the university behind them like we do at UH. Everyone at the university has to be on board to be able to push a team towards greatness. There may be many big name coaching openings this year, but not all of those openings are willing to support athletics like we do at Houston.
If He Leaves
If Coach Herman does in fact decide to leave after this season, don’t worry Coog fans, it won’t be the end of the world. What y’all should realize is Coach Herman is helping prove that the University of Houston is one of the best, if not the best, Group of Five coaching job in the country. Every other up-and-coming college football coach as well as several veteran coaches are seeing right now that it is possible to win big at Houston and recruit well. These coaches are also seeing the commitment to winning from the university and the athletics department.
When a coach leaves Houston, we need them to have the level of success that Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin have had since leaving. Why? Because the next top assistant will want to come here emulate their path to success. This is what Herman is doing and if he leaves, we’ll go and get the next Herman. Whether Coach Herman decides to build a legacy here like Gary Patterson at TCU or stay for a few years and take another job, we’re still going to keep pushing for success.