Tom Herman could be waiting for Charlie Strong to get fired, Art Briles to retire, or Kliff Kingsbury to become a GQ model. All possibilities, all people coaching in the state of Texas. Maybe he's waiting to get that elusive Big 12 invite and never leave the Cougars. Who even knows? That's not important at the moment, though.
For now, he’s doing things the right way. He’s forced Houston to pony up nearly three million dollars, and he’ll be coaching them in 2016 after posting a one loss season.
Read that sentence again.
A coach at the University of Houston will be making three million dollars to coach football.
After pushing boosters to put up funds to keep the Houston Head Coach, Herman went from 1.3 million dollars to this. Even crazier? At the time the contract talks begun, the schools Athletic Director called the three million dollar figure only a starting point for negotiations. It has appeared that Herman was satisfied with the number, as it was the figure that stuck on his contract according to multiple outlet reports.
This move puts him in the closest suburban outside the neighborhood of elite college football coaches, placing him just out of the Top 25 of the highest paid head men in college football. That's that Mark Helfrich, Dabo Swinney, Mike Gundy type money. This is happening at the University of Houston. Insert head exploding emoji here.
The times, they are a-changing. A global change of sorts for all of the American Athletic Conference coaches. This event is event something that could even affect the Group of Five coaches as a larger being. If you can win, you can can get paid any where and you can also get the stress that goes along with getting paid.
Expectations for College Football are changing, they continue to rise at an astronomical rate even if unfairly done. With such a dramatic increase of expectations, more of a premium is placed on coaches that can win and even more when you can win quickly. If you're Tom Herman, that could be an amazing thing, and it has been, if you're others, it’s not so much a nice thing at all.
Ask Ruffin McNeil about this current climate. McNeil is a career 42-34 coach at East Carolina, who took them to a 4-0 record against the ACC. Now he's been fired by the Pirates after disagreements broke out on a contract extension.
Of course you can also ask Mark Richt or Les Miles, who survived a job cut by the skin of his teeth.
I'm not sure any of this is healthy. Immediate success has forced athletic departments to make overzealous offers; likewise, a bad season has forced those same athletic departments to overreact grossly. This is society now. Immediate satisfaction or immediate action. The pressure is immense. Could Herman be worth what was once over half of Houston's entire athletic budget? Maybe. But it's been one season of dramatic success.
On a broader scope, this changes everything for the coaches in the American Athletic Conference. Talented coaches are getting paid to stay at their school. Not exactly a newsflash, though them actually staying may be. Herman is the prime example, but did I mention Matt Rhule will also be staying at Temple?
What was once a starting point job, albeit a good one, for some coaches could now turn into a place where results are expected and the patience is thin.. A double-edged sword, in a sense.
That's one 10,000 foot view of the situation; an opposite angle reveals a grim truth for underperforming coaches in the American Athletic Conference.
I need not mention you; you know who you are. The clock is ticking for you folks. Tom Herman is serving as the blueprint for your possible eventual departure. No Bueno for you and I'm sorry, but it's the reality.
How long will it take the Athletic Directors of these programs to look at a program like Houston and ask the question that seems to be the most logical: Why can't we do that? Sure, Houston football has long been running a nice program, yet they were still 5-7 in 2012 with a guy named Tony Levine coaching them. Now they are fighting off Miami, Virgina Tech and presumably a host of others to keep their head coach. How long would it take any Group of Five Athletic Directors to pause and ask that question?
People who are used to success, generally get jealous when others have it, and they can't obtain that same level, especially when that is the field of work they pride themselves in. That's the American way. That type of jealous nature is speeding up as a result of Tom Herman staying in Houston.
The price is going up, and the clock isn't slowing down. Hold on to your butts, American Athletic Conference coaches.