December 15, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) Tom Herman will soon have about $15,000 worth of gold and diamonds in his mouth.

The Houston coach promised the Cougars that if they won the American Athletic Conference title he'd get a custom-made grill to wear over his teeth.

The 14th-ranked Cougars did just that with a win over Temple on Dec. 5, so on Tuesday the first-year coach made good on the promise by meeting with Grammy-nominated Houston rapper Paul Wall to get fitted for the mouth jewelry.

Wall and Johnny Dang, who own a company that specializes in creating the pricey grills, visited the football offices at the school to fit Herman. It only took a few minutes for Wall to take molds of Herman's teeth.

''I've been here 12 months and one of the biggest things I've said is I've never lied to them yet and our coaches have never lied to them and everything we've told them we were going to do we've did and everything that we've said that we stand for we stood for,'' he said. ''So I made the silly comment to (a player) back in February and they held up their end of the bargain so I had to hold up mine.''

Having a grill isn't exactly a look you would expect on Herman, a straight-laced, clean-cut member of Mensa. Asked when he'd wear it he deadpanned: ''Not very often.''

Wall, who attended the University of Houston, was thrilled to get the chance to make a grill for the first-year coach. Wall and Dang both wore grills on Tuesday, and Wall was asked how he thinks Herman will look in his.

''Oh, he's going to be shining,'' Wall said. ''Definitely going to be shining.''

Herman caused the players who were in attendance to double over with laughter when he responded by quoting a line from a 2007 hit by Nelly and Wall about the mouthpieces called ''Grillz.''

''Got my mouth looking something like a disco ball,'' Herman bellowed.

Someone tried to play the song on their phone earlier in the fitting, but the signal in the office was bad and it kept cutting out. But it did play for a few seconds at a time, causing both Herman and Wall to bob their heads to the beat.

Several members of the team were on what Herman called the ''Grill Committee'' and they helped decide the details of the grill. They wouldn't divulge exactly what it will look like, but Dang said it would cost just under $15,000.

He will receive the grill next week.

''We had a hard time deciding gold or diamonds,'' Herman said. ''Does it need to have letters? So I think it will be pretty good. It's going to be iced out.''

Wall, who is a huge fan of all the city's teams, can't wait to see the finished product on Herman.

''I take a lot of pride in repping for my city, repping for my school the University of Houston,'' he said. ''It represents the city. For coach to do that and show love and even want to get a grill means a lot.''

Don't expect to see Herman wearing the grill while he stalks the sidelines at the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve when the Cougars meet No. 9 Florida State. But Herman has already thought of a perfect time to don the grill.

''Next time I go see him play I'll wear it,'' he said of Wall.

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