After informing his former Houston Cougars players of his decision and departing the Space City early Saturday afternoon, the Texas Longhorns announced Tom Herman as the next head football coach in Austin a matter of hours after terminating Charlie Strong.
The school will introduce Herman in a press conference on Sunday.
"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 in a statement released by the school. "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.”
While the news was widely circulated that Strong would officially lose his job in a meeting on Saturday morning, Herman revealed that he met with Fenves and Perrin on Friday evening after Texas lost to TCU at home.
"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,” Herman said. “I am eager to get to Austin as soon as possible, to spend time with our student-athletes and to get to work."
Football Scoop reported that relationships mattered to Herman in his process, and while there was certainly a whirlwind of discussion around the decision-making processes at Texas, Perrin and Fenves came away impressed enough with that late-night interview to make the easy decision on Saturday.
"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 worked as a graduate assistant at Texas from 1999 to 2000 under Mack Brown, which helped provide the basis for everything that came after, in addition to the development it allowed him as a young coach who had spent one year at Texas Lutheran before heading to Austin.
"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."
Now that career will return to Austin once again, where Herman will work to build on the culture that Strong implemented during his nearly three years on the 40 Acres. The school certainly made sure to emphasize just how much Herman cares about academics:
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.
So if anyone is still worried about Herman representing a downgrade from Strong in caring about his players and their academic success, that evidence is certainly heartening.
Welcome home, coach.