As bowl season rolled on this past Saturday, the University of Texas stole the spotlight with the news that the school had fired head coach Tom Herman. Herman’s tumultuous tenure in Austin comes to an end after four seasons, finishing with a career record of 32-18 (22-14 in the Big 12), a perfect 4-0 mark in bowl games, and 0-1 in his lone Big 12 Championship appearance.
Statement From the School
“With our football season coming to a close, our vice president and athletics director, Chris Del Conte, has evaluated the UT program’s strengths and weaknesses and where the program is relative to our goals. While we have made measured progress during the past several years under Tom Herman’s leadership, Chris has recommended to the university president, Jay Hartzell, that UT make a coaching change to get us on track to achieving our ambitious goals.”
“...We thank Coach Herman for his service and dedication to our student-athletes, our program, and our university.”
Texas will owe Herman $15 million due to his guaranteed contract, which had three years remaining when he was removed from his post. Buying out the remainder of Herman’s staff could increase the total cost past $25 million if the incoming head coach elects to clean house and recruit his own coaches. Seven members of Herman’s staff were hired in the last year alone.
Hours after the news broke that Herman was dismissed, Steve Sarkisian was named as his successor. The current Alabama offensive coordinator returns to the top spot on the sidelines, where he held previous posts with the University of Washington and USC.
Sarkisian released his own statement, detailing the magnitude of the opportunity he’s been given.
“On Jan. 4, 2006, I was the USC quarterback coach when we played Texas in that famed national championship game. There has always been something special about Longhorn football, its history and traditions – not just on that day – and I could never have imagined that 15 years later, I would join the Longhorns as their head coach. This is a unique and compelling opportunity to lead this storied program to the next level, competing once again amongst the best in college football.”
Alabama faced a similar situation four years ago when their O.C. at the time, Lane Kiffin, was hired away as the new head coach at Florida Atlantic before the College Football Playoff. Kiffin coached in the Tide’s semifinal win but left the program before the National Championship, replaced by Sarkisian.
Sark confirmed (as of now) that he will coach the nation’s top offense in the title game on Jan. 11 against Ohio State. Kiffin has since departed FAU for Ole Miss and was just rewarded with a new contract this weekend after a successful first campaign.
Texas finished their 2020 seasons with a 7-3 record, capped off by a 55-23 blowout victory over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl, despite losing senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger to an injury.
As noted, Herman was perfect in bowl games during his tenure but was never able to capitalize off a Sugar Bowl victory on New Year’s Day in 2019, and the school became impatient quickly. Texas had initially offered the job to Urban Meyer, but the former Florida and Ohio State head coach turned them down.