Tom Herman could be on his way to Texas, as his stock is on the rise again after the win over Louisville. Boosters are reportedly pushing the Longhorns to hire the Houston head coach and dismiss Charlie Strong.
Not only did Houston’s win over Louisville knock the Cardinals out of the College Football Playoff, but it may have sealed the fate of Charlie Strong at Texas.
According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, the Longhorns’ administration is receiving “extreme pressure” from prominent boosters to fire Strong and hire Tom Herman, whose Cougars blew out Bobby Petrino’s Louisville squad on Thursday night.
With the win over the Cardinals, Herman improved to 22-3 in two years with the AAC school.
Strong’s job was considered safe if the 5-5 Longhorns took care of business against Kansas and TCU and finished the season with a winning record. However, according to the ESPN report, the situation changed when Houston pounded the Cardinals earlier this week, which put the spotlight back on the guy who led his teams to wins over Oklahoma and Louisville this season, two teams that entered this week in the CFP mix.
Of course, if Texas makes a move with Strong, the ‘Horns would not be the only program going after Herman. Ed Orgeron may not get the full-time gig at LSU, and there are always surprises in the coaching carousel that may put Herman in play elsewhere. However, Herman-to-Texas makes the most sense because of his ties to the state.
Whichever way the coaching carousel spins, Herman will likely get a deal that starts at least at $5 million per season based on other salaries and the fact that he’d be most any team’s top target.
Complicating matters for Texas is the fact that president Greg Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin have been consistent in their support of Strong, who is in the third year of a five-year deal and would receive a $10 million buyout if he is fired. But situations change fast in the big-money world of college football—especially when Longhorn boosters are involved.
While Strong would have the worst losing percentage in UT history if Texas splits its last two games, I’ve maintained that he deserves a fourth year because he finally has an offense under Sterlin Gilbert that can compete with the rest of the Big 12, and his defense is incredibly young with so much room for growth. In addition, the seemingly back-and-forth interest in Herman by UT boosters based on Houston’s results raise some eyebrows as to how much pull these people should have in the decision to retain Strong or relieve him of his duties.
Herman is a fantastic head coach who would have a very good chance at success at Texas, but that doesn’t mean that pulling the plug on Strong wouldn’t be a mistake.