After giving up 37 points in the first half of a 49-31 to unranked Oklahoma State, firing head coach Charlie Strong at seasons end may be the easy part. (Reports are that the Longhorns won’t copy the LSU blueprint and fire Strong during the season, though truth is, UT has nobody capable of replacing Strong – even on an interim basis – if they wanted to expedite the process.)
Strong is now 13-16 at Texas. Of those 16 loses ten have been by at least 18 points. The Longhorns defense was the worst in school history in 2015. It’s worse this season. So bad that longtime friend Vance Bedford has been demoted as coordinator and Strong will take over the defensive play calling duties. The future for Strong doesn’t appear bright.
LSU firing Les Miles after twelve seasons in Baton Rouge was embarrassing, and displayed complete mismanagement on the part of Athletic Director Joe Alleva. Nothing to surprising there.
Now that the search is on at LSU, and probably Texas behind closed doors, the race for Tom Herman can begin. But there in lies the problem for both schools. While each provides many positives over Herman’s current position as head coach at Houston, stability and smart management in the athletic department is not one of the advantages.
Alleva has long looked incompetent. As Times-Picayune reporter Ron Higgins wrote last week, Alleva is not exactly the closer LSU needs to entice Herman to leave UH. He botched the opportunity to move on from Les Miles last November. Like me, you may know the name Joe Alleva from the ESPN 30 for 30 in which he mistakenly hung out the Duke Lacross team.
The situation is not much better at Texas, where Houston attorney Mike Perrin is currently serving as athletic director, but for how long? A power struggle grows beneath Perrin in the athletic department while he tries to bring stability. According to a Sports Illustrated post by Pete Thamel, “Instead of athletic department employees focused on helping coaches win, there’s a feeling at Texas that they are more concerned about their own power.”
If you are Tom Herman and you can choose to coach just about anywhere you want – including staying at Houston – why choose LSU or Texas? Southern Cal, Oregon, Auburn are also likely to have openings this year. Solid management, outstanding facilities and resources, a history of success and most importantly, a great opportunity to win championships would sway my decision. And a lovely place to live of course.
Does Herman believe his current job at Houston is the best option, or would the grass be greener on top of the septic tank (thanks for the metaphor Coach Saban) at LSU or Texas? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.