Tom Herman’s coaching journey came full circle earlier this month when he was announced as the new head football coach at the University of Texas. Herman began his foray into the coaching world at Texas as a graduate assistant 16 years ago and now finds himself sitting in the head coach’s chair. That’s the kind of stuff that movies are made of, and is sure to bring up memories for any coach.
“There’s been a few moments where you kind of look around and you remember, I was a graduate assistant coach here 16 years ago,” said Herman on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones show. “You kind of look around and say man I remember that when I was a grad assistant, you let it soak in for a couple brief seconds and then you move on. There’s not a whole lot of time for that with how busy we’ve been in recruiting, getting to know our players, and hiring a staff. Maybe when things slow down a little bit there will be time for that, but right now, it’s just brief seconds once or twice a day where you look around and say wow this is where it all started for me.”
As for the team that he now inherits at Texas, it’s a group that hasn’t had a winning season since 2013. The program has lost seven games in each of the last three years under previous head coach Charlie Strong. So, what does Herman see when he looks at the team Strong built and left for him at Texas?
“Charlie is a great man and a good football coach and these guys had a tremendous amount of admiration for Charlie,” said Herman. “I’m not going to screw that up at all, but we’ve got to change some things. To have three straight seasons of seven losses, some things have to change. I think the best answer is, I’m not sure yet. You get hired, you get on the road recruiting and you really know the recruits better than your own team because then you get off the road and they’re gone for Christmas break. So, we’ll know a lot more about our team in January when we get back and hit winter conditioning and figure out just how tough, how accountable, how willing to sacrifice and work some of these guys are.”
Has Herman already identified some changes that need to be made to bring Texas back to national prominence?
“No, not yet, it’s too early. I’ve only had two team meetings,” said Herman. “I’ve had different guys come in that I’ve met with individually and got to know a few guys on a personal level. All that stuff will happen after the break when we get rolling there in the middle of January.”
Herman’s number one task outside of building a winning team will be to be on the same page with the administration, something that wasn’t always necessarily the case with coach Strong. Herman made sure to ask the people hiring him what their vision was for the program to make sure that everyone was on the same page from the jump.
“I just wanted to make sure that we were in alignment with our vision and what our goals were for University of Texas football,” said Herman. “I wanted to make sure that we were prepared to do the things necessary to compete with the Alabama’s, the Ohio State’s and the Clemson’s of the world from a facilities standpoint and from a staffing standpoint. I think we’ve let things slip a little bit here in terms of that. President Fenves and Mike Perrin the athletic director have been tremendous in making sure that we get Texas back to its rightful place among the college football elite.”