If Tom Herman leaves Houston, it won’t be over money.
That’s what U of H board chairman Tillman Fertitta said Monday night. And with a net worth approaching $3 billion, he can personally back that statement up.
Fertitta said he wouldn’t fault Herman for leaving for a better place to chase a national championship. But he guaranteed money wouldn’t be an issue.
“When the season’s over we’ll sit down with Tom Herman and make adjustments to his contract to pay him what he’s worth,” Fertitta told the Fox affiliate in Houston. “We’ll make other adjustments and other wants and needs that are important to him, and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep Tom Herman as the football coach at the University of Houston, but if Tom Herman decides he wants to leave, head football coaches today of Tom’s caliber don’t usually leave because of money. They leave because they think they have a better chance of competing for national championships.
“You got to understand, our athletics director (Hunter Yurachek) and Tom’s agent, they talk all through the year,” Fertitta said. “We’ve made it real clear to Tom Herman and his agent that we don’t want to lose you over financial items. We can’t promise you certain things, but we’re going to do whatever it takes to keep you. We’re not going to let you leave over financial matters.”
Herman’s contract pays him $3 million this year — by far the highest salary of any Group of 5 coach and ahead of the likes of Will Muschamp, Dana Holgorsen and Mike Leach, according to USA Today.
Houston has done an exceptionally good job — from the board, to the president, to the athletics department — at providing Herman everything he needs to win, and because of that Fertitta believes the Cougars have a fighting chance to keep the wolves at bay.
“I absolutely do not think it’s a forgone conclusion that we’re going to lose our coach,” Fertitta said. “Tom Herman loves the University of Houston. He’s happy to be coaching at the University of Houston, and I think there’s only a few places Tom Herman would even consider.”
Herman, 22-3 in two seasons, will close his second regular season as the Cougars’ coach at Memphis on Friday (noon ET, ABC).