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After Messy Longhorn Exit, Will Tom Herman Be Steer-ed to UW?

His name came up early in the University of Washington's search for a new football coach.

Tom Herman did what the University of Washington football team couldn't do on Saturday. 

He put a beatdown on the Colorado Buffaloes.

Last December, Herman directed Texas to a punishing 55-23 Alamo Bowl victory over the Pac-12 team, capping off a challenging 7-3 pandemic season by improving his postseason ledger to 4-0 with the Longhorns.

His players enthusiastically drenched him with the traditional Gatorade ice bath. The coach enjoyed this celebratory moment in San Antonio two and a half weeks after receiving was what thought to be a public vote of confidence from Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte.

Four days following the bowl game, Herman was shown the door.


The coach and his staff rightly were shocked by their mass firing after such an uplifting end to the football season.

The reasons offered for the sudden move: Herman didn't win enough, didn't recruit well enough, didn't win any championships.

The California native had the job in Austin, Texas, for all of four seasons, compiling a 32-18 record, and he was gone. 

Herman still is considered football genius at Ohio State, where he worked as a creative offensive coordinator for Urban Meyer, shared in a national championship and was named as the Power 5 assistant coach of the year in 2014. 

He also can walk into any bar and not have to buy a drink in Houston, where in 2015 he led those Cougars to a 13-1 record — matching the greatest season in school history. 

Considering all this, Herman's name was one of the first to come up as a candidate once Washington fired Jimmy Lake last weekend. He wouldn't come cheap, but he most likely would find Seattle well suitable for continuing his puzzling coaching career. 

Tom Herman gets an Alamo Bowl ice bath.

Tom Herman gets a Gatorade bath at the 2020 Alamo Bowl. 

If the Huskies should hire him, they might consider Herman as the person to be named later in their long-ago coaching trade with Texas. 

In 1956, Darrell Royal left Washington in the lurch after a lone 5-5 season to become the Longhorns' most successful coach in school history, winning three national championships. 

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The UW-Texas coaching connection, of course, runs a little deeper than Royal, almost hilariously so.

Herman was replaced by former Husky coach Steve Sarkisian, with their firing and hiring taking place simultaneously to appease impatient donors. The last straw for the Longhorn benefactors was Texas-pledged quarterback recruit Quinn Ewers, considered the No. 1 prospect in the nation, flipping to Ohio State. 

The Longhorns were convinced that Sarkisian, having rebuilt his career while serving as Alabama offensive coordinator for Nick Saban, would be an upgrade over the man they unapologetically sacrificed and paid $15 million in buyout money to go away. 

"Circumstances changed," was all Del Conte the AD would offer.

Tom Herman works the Texas sideline.

Tom Herman signals for a timeout at Texas.

Now look at what their impertinence did: Those overbearing Longhorns big-money guys probably got exactly what they deserved.  

Sarkisian has been a bust so far.

Amid cries to bring Herman back, fans have watched in horror as Sark's first Texas team has gone 4-7, similar to the Huskies. The Longhorns have dropped six games in a row and blew second-half leads of 18, 11 and 11 to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor, respectively. Sark's guys even did the unthinkable, stumbling at home to lowly Kansas 57-56 in overtime.  

Herman naturally does not come without a little extra baggage himself. While he was socially progressive on behalf of his players and various causes they supported, he angered fans for not taking a stronger position in defending "The Eyes of Texas" song, which is a school trademark but considered racist in message.  

Other Texas followers indicated they were turned off by Herman's on-field behavior, which could be a little over the top. He reportedly mocked the Missouri quarterback at the 2017 Texas Bowl. He ran onto the field as if ready to fight Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy in 2018. TV cameras showed the coach head-butting defensive end Malcolm Roach before the Baylor game last season. 

Herman also was caught giving two middle fingers to a Longhorn Network camera mounted inside the coaching staff’s meeting room on national signing day. He tried to explain away the situation by insisting he was telling a story about some Oklahoma fan, but his recruiting critics knew better. 

If he becomes a serious UW candidate, Herman no doubt will have to explain himself during the interview process. The school already suffered an image blow when Lake was seen on national TV shoving and chastising a player for engaging in a sideline dust-up with an opponent.

Bottom line, Herman should make sure the UW is the right school for him. While he received only 50 games to show what he could do at Texas and was appalled by that, Lake was banished after just 13 outings. College football, no matter where you go, waits for no one these days.

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