If your favorite college football team has a current head-coaching vacancy, there’s a good chance Tom Herman was mentioned as a possible candidate. Despite being one of the most in-demand coaches in the country, Herman will remain with the Houston Cougars.
According to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, he confirmed Monday he has “agreed in principle” on a new deal with the school.
The Houston Cougars did a great job of working so quickly to quell any rumors of Herman’s departure.
Between his work with the Ohio State Buckeyes offense last year and then Houston’s success this year, Herman looked poised to move to greener pastures in the offseason.
USC announced Monday that Clay Helton will take over head-coaching duties on a permanent basis. Even with that door closed, Herman still had potential opportunities at South Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Miami and Georgia after Mark Richt’s firing.
On Nov. 19, Duarte reported that Houston was willing to pay Herman as much as $3 million annually in order to entice him to stay. That salary makes Herman the richest Group of Five head coach—surpassing Tommy Tuberville’s $2.2 annual salary—but he’d still tie for 31st in the country in terms of base salary.
Signing an extension keeps Herman in Houston for at least one more season, but the Cougars must know it’s likely only a matter of time before he accepts a job elsewhere.
A year from now, Houston might be in a very similar position, one where it has to fight in order to hold on to Herman. He was only in Year 1 of his five-year deal before the Cougars signaled interest in more than doubling his salary.
Herman’s departure is far from a guarantee, though.
Chris Petersen stayed at Boise State for eight years—seven of which came after the Broncos’ historic Fiesta Bowl win in 2007—before moving to Washington.
Gary Patterson also settled in at TCU for 12 years while the Horned Frogs bounced around the WAC, Conference USA and Mountain West Conference before ultimately landing in the Big 12.
Still, the Cougars will struggle to keep up with the traditional powers in the college football arms race. Their two most successful coaches before Herman, Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin, both took jobs in what are now Power Five conferences.
This time next year, LSU and Texas could be two of the more attractive openings. If that’s the case, Herman could very well be on his way out the door should Houston have another good season.