Tom Herman Simply Doesn’t Get the UH Fan Ire

Tom Herman
Head Football Coach
University of Texas


“Some of the vitriol confuses me a little bit from the Coog fans considering what we were able to do and accomplish there (at UH) in 23 months and the fun and wins that we had.” – Tom Herman, 4/20/17, in an appearance on “The Proper Gentlemen of Sports” on 790 AM, Houston.

“I sleep so easy knowing that I never once lied to a player, never once lied to a recruit and never once lied to any coaches or administration. Those are the people I care about. Whatever the public thought was happening behind closed doors is really not for me to say. It’s unfortunate people can twist and turn things to fit whatever narrative they’d like it to fit.” – Tom Herman, 4/20/17, in an appearance on “The Proper Gentlemen of Sports” on 790 AM, Houston.

“Some of the vitriol confuses me a little bit from the Coog fans considering what we were able to do and accomplish there in 23 months and the fun and wins that we had,” Herman told co-hosts Matt Thomas and Lance Zierlein. “I sleep so easy knowing that I never once lied to a player, never once lied to a recruit and never once lied to any coaches or administration. Those are the people I care about. Whatever the public thought was happening behind closed doors is really not for me to say. It’s unfortunate people can twist and turn things to fit whatever narrative they’d like it to fit.” – Tom Herman, 4/20/17, in an appearance on “The Proper Gentlemen of Sports” on 790 AM, Houston.

According to the writer in this same Joseph Duarte article from the Houston Chronicle, “Herman always maintained there was (were) a handful of  ‘dream jobs’ he would have to strongly consider, (should offers arise).”

Does that mean that Herman would still have jumped at the UT offer, even if OU, UT and the eight Big 12 dwarf schools had not backed off plans to include UH in their number by canceling plans for expansion last fall. We presume that quick call under those circumstances would have cost Herman the $4-5 million dollar bonus he otherwise stood to bank with UH’s elevation to Big 12 membership. Or did the UH late rebuke by the Big 12 simply happen to clear the way for UT’s “dream job” offer to Herman? It certainly made it easier on several levels for UT to make their play under the circumstances of UH as an outsider than it would have been had UH already been accepted as a conference member. We’ll never know, but that’s the not the point here, anyway.

Our point today is that we are flabbergasted, if possible, over the limited understanding that Tom Herman seems to have for the situation he walked into with fans when he took the Houston job in the first place. He seems shocked by our ire – and actually hurt on some fleet, dismissive level that we don’t seem to appreciate what he did for us in his two seasons (2015-16) as head coach.

Tom! Hello! Tom! Believe me! We loved what you did! We simply didn’t know – on top of the two recent short stays by Kevin Sumlin leaving for Texas A&M and earlier, Art Briles leaving for Baylor – that we were about to get our third, most successful recent coach to stay only as long as it took for his “dream job” to show up and take you away too! Do you not get that? – Or is it that you simply need to remember it differently for your own peace of mind?

We fans weren’t hearing all these big pronouncements from you that you would stay at UH until your “dream job” called you away. We were hearing how much you loved UH and the City of Houston as a place to raise your family. We naively thought that you were here to be our guy, the guy who would fight with us the good fight for a first class opportunity in college football – and a serious shot at the national championship. We weren’t looking for a short time good life, followed by another abandonment, but that’s what we got. – Look at the money we gave you! What do you think all the extra money and bonus money offerings were about? My God! How much money do you need to feel happy and secure. We always assumed that you could get more money elsewhere. We just didn’t think you were wound that way.

“I never lied” honesty can be a deceptive cover for the true reality.

If a coach tells his players after the last game of the season that “I am still your coach,” but he knows (or has a good idea) that a desirable offer from a certain dream university is waiting for him at the airport after the flight back home, you would have to pull out the old Catholic rules governing “mental reservation” to avoid the fact that the coach’s honest first statement was merely a deceptive technicality cover up of the true reality.

Here’s what we fans wish you had said when you arrived at UH

“I’m going to go full burner to give UH all I’ve got to give this job as your new head football coach. As long as I’m treated with honesty, support, and respect, and as long as I see that the university is going the extra mile on facilities and  salaries for the kind of staff we shall need, I may just retire from this place someday. I won’t kid you. Getting into the Power 5 conference level as a school is a must. The chances of UH ever winning a national title as an outsider to that group is almost impossible to conceive. I will help with that fight in every way I can, but I must warn you. I will never put the needs of UH or anyone else above my own family’s needs or my personal health. If ever I am offered a dream job that answers all my needs elsewhere, and it’s one that UH cannot match, I will be open to listening to their offer. Hopefully, that may never happen. If I grow in my attachments to UH over time – as a young guy named Bill Yeoman once did – then I won’t ever have to leave until life takes me from this now sacred ground. This job at UH will have become my dream job. – Thanks for listening. Because now we have no secrets. And you can never say I didn’t plainly warn you.” ~ a might have been introductory statement by Tom Herman on the day he arrived at UH  in 2015 to take over as head football coach.

You never said it to us UH fans, Tom. If you said it that plainly to the UH board or administration, the news never reached us members of the Cougar hoi pal oi. But that doesn’t matter. Telling us straight out was your job, not the school’s.

The Yeoman Model spoiled us.

When Bill Yeoman came to UH as our head football coach in 1962, it was a different world. Those of us who were around at the time got to watch what he did to put UH on the map. By 1965, Yeoman had invented the veer offense, revolutionizing college football. In today’s world he would have been plastered with money to leave for the Valley of Kings, but that didn’t happen. If he turned down some tough offers to stay a Cougar, we never heard. And we didn’t worry about it. He was our guy. And that guy’s brilliance got us better players and eventually, from 1976 to 1995, membership in this last two decades of life that remained for the Southwest Conference. And for that boost, we shall also forever give credit to Coach Darrell Royal of UT for making sure it happened. Now, from 1996 to 2016, we’ve spent the past two decades trying to fight our way back from the new shallow waters of college football with only token moments of new high hope. We don’t want bad coaches; we don’t want mediocre coaches; and we don’t want great coaches who only want to use us as a stepping stone until the “dream job “comes along.

Our Hearts Now Ride with Major Applewhite

We UH fans want Major Applewhite to grow into that UH guy as he takes the reins, even if his UT alma mater comes knocking on his door looking for a new head coach in 3-4 years.



Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


15 Responses to “Tom Herman Simply Doesn’t Get the UH Fan Ire”

  1. Larry Dierker Says:

    It’s endemic. Can’t y’all see it? The powers of sports from college on up in every sport don’t give a shit about the people that pay them — the fans. They don’t think you can help yourselves. Perhaps you can’t. Herman is a fraud. But no worse than the rest.

  2. Wayne Roberts Says:

    I don’t understand the continued complaining. Get over it. Why would anyone stay at UH when they could be at UT? Or Alabama? Or OU? Or even TAMU for that matter? Seriously. There are the major leagues and there are the minor leagues. What was he supposed to do, stay in AA ball forever?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Save the arrogance, Wayne. It does not become the man I think you are. That wasn’t a minor league loss that OU suffered on Opening Day to UH last year, but it may have been the most costly win in Cougar football history. BTW, we have moved on. I was just floored by Herman’s disingenuous problem of not understanding UH fan unhappiness with him for leaving us. It’s like Dierker said. Herman is a fraud, but no worse than the rest.

      • Wayne Roberts Says:

        Sorry, Bill. You missed my point. I completely agree with Tom’s and Larry’s points but mine is different though perhaps not articulated well in trying to be brief. I see their discussion about money greed of corporate sports as not the same issue as with Herman. The UH win over OU was great. UH will have more. However, we all want to advance in life and career, whether for ego, to provide for our families, or just due to competitive juices. How can you fault a man, who was open in saying there were jobs he’d move from Houston to, advancing both his career and family’s financial security? I love my job now but I openly say there is one other position I’d go to if offered. There is one other I’d take if provided enough money to compensate for the grief. Herman took the UT job for his reasons but I suspect they’re a combination of financial security, ego, ambition to win a national championship, and to be part of a nationally recognized historical program. He has to know he’s taking a risk. As Royal said, “how would you like to have your career and financial well-being in the hands of what some eighty 18 to 21 year old boys will do on a Saturday afternoon?” Strong took that risk and lost. UT is a meat grinder with a national spotlight UH does not have. Look, when I was applying for undergrad programs I’d have given my eyeteeth to go to Univ of Chicago or Stanford. But my family couldn’t afford it so I “settled” for UT. I didn’t come to UT or Austin for greed or ego, but because it wasn’t in Houston (where I was from), admitted girls and was the best school I could afford. Face it, most of us have to settle for things in life and career. For some of us the brass ring passes overhead and we shouldn’t be castigated for grabbing it. That’s the American way. Sorry I offended you but I stand by my point, what was he supposed to do…”settle” for UH instead of grabbing the brass ring? I think calling Herman a fraud is disingenuous on y’alls part and unfair to him.

        Sorry for being preachy but you should acknowledge the many factors influencing a person’s decision concerning something so important to his or her career and family and let the hurt feelings go. Again, my friend, get over it!

      • Bill McCurdy Says:

        Sorry, Wayne, I didn’t mean to drive you up the “midnight homily trail” on this thing. Rest assured. I’m not losing any sleep here, nor do I have any desire or belief that we need to even try until we someday have the chance to talk in person. Hope that happens, friend. In the meanwhile, let’s not waste time on futility posting.

  3. Tom Kleinworth Says:

    Larry just summed up the feelings I will always have about Bud Selig and MLB forcing the Astros to move to the American League.They didn’t give a shit about tradition or history. They also figured that while fans of most teams – ie the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals etc – would riot if forced to change leagues, Astro fans were a bunch of sheep who would complain a little but in the end roll over and take it. The sad part is – they’re were right. I’m still a baseball fan, but I’m honestly not an Astros fan any more. It’s hard to care about an organization that makes it clear they don’t really care about you, they just want your money. God bless all of you who have remained Astro fans. I wish I still was.

  4. Larry Dierker Says:

    That’s what’s hard. Remaining a fan while not wanting to support the system that exploits you. I can’t help liking the Astros because I like the players and I know the they don’t know what I know.

    Whatever happened to loyalty? There have been plenty of players, including Biggio, who have taken less money for more important things. In my opinion ambition and greed are the only reasons to choose a UT, Alabama, etc over UH, especially after all the gushing about how much you love Houston. Drayton was loyal too. A dying breed.

    How can I revel in Bagwell at Cooperstown with the man who ruined baseball, Bud Selig on the same stage?

    It’s hard to be an old-fashioned fan these days.

    • Fred Soland Says:

      Larry, I absolutely agree with you are the chickenshit Bud Selig. I will be there in Cooperstown when Bags goes in. I will actually be inducted in another wing on Saturday for seeing a game in every major league park, but I digress. I will boo the living hell out of Selig’s announcement when it is made. I really don’t believe I will be the only one booing either. It is a travesty that they put him in the hall at all. Hell, I would vote Steinbrenner in before Selig. What a crock!!

  5. Tom Kleinworth Says:

    Larry – I feel exactly the same about the Hall of Fame ceremony. I am a longtime donor and have a standing offer for tickets to the event, but have no plans to go. I’m happy for Bagwell, but would turn sick if I had to watch Bud Selig get inducted.

    PS I guess I qualify as an old-fashioned fan. I was in the original Colt 45 Knothole Gang in 1962, and was in Colt Stadium for Don Nottebart’s no-hitter and when some kid pitched for the Colts against the Giants on his 18th birthday. And yet Bud Selig said my feelings didn’t matter. He wanted his Brewers in the NL. Everyone else could go to hell.

    I hope Bill doesn’t think we’ve hijacked his thread, but he raised the issue of loyalty, and his posting, and Larry’s comment, opened up an old wound.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      No problem, Tom.The disappearance of loyalty all over big time sports is the larger issue here. Larry picked up on that point and simply knocked the ball out of the park to the big picture question: How long are we fans going to continue sucking at the teat of a mama cow that doesn’t really give a damn about us?

  6. Rick B. Says:

    We fans will always come up on the short end of the stick as long as we continue to buy the product. And we do (myself included), as sports junkies in need of our next fix.

    After the 1994 MLB strike I vowed never to attend another game & (as much as I had always loved baseball) actually kept that vow for 11 years. Ironically (& now probably to her chagrin), my wife was the one who got me to MMP for the first time in 2005. After that I fell completely off the wagon.

    My point is thst, as long as we keep buying what teams (& schools) are selling, practically no one (owner, coach, player) is going to feel compelled to be loyal to the fans.

  7. gregclucas Says:

    I don’t think ANY fan should support (with dollars, tickets, etc) past the level they can reasonably handle. Costs are out of sight in most college and top level professional sports. But that does not mean one cannot remain a fan…and a die hard one at that. TV and Radio are still around and the internet from many sources augments (replaces in many cases) the newspaper. I follow the Astros and hope they win every night and win a World Series while I am still around to enjoy it. But I am not a ticket buyer. I saw a lot of games during the 25 years with Texas and Houston I was involved in MLB. Going to a game now would, for me, be like a retired lawyer going down to the old office just to hang around. That is the past. But I still love the game and am a Houston fan. Go Astros.

  8. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    What’s so new in all of this? just….”Follow the Money”; in politics, business, sports, City, County, and State government,…and Federal Gov’t. too . . . .and regretfully it drives almost everything in today’s life style and culture..and sometimes with disastrous and brutal results! …

  9. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Tell you what Bill. I’ll take you to a UT game this year if you take me to a UH game. I haven’t seen your new stadium.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      That’s a great idea, Wayne. Sounds like fun. You haven’t seen the modest TDECU at all – and I haven’t seen a game in Austin since the 1978 UH@UT match up.

      Meanwhile, have a nice weekend, my friend!

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