HOUSTON (KTRK) --The Texas Longhorns has named former University of Houston coach Tom Herman as their next head coach, the university announced. Herman will replace Charlie Strong, who was fired earlier Saturday after a 16-21 record in three years at Texas.
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Herman's desire to take the Texas job has been one of the sport's worst-kept secrets. He has Texas ties that go back to when he began his career as a Longhorns graduate assistant under Mack Brown (1999-2000).
"The opportunity to come back to Texas is a dream come true for me and my family, and I can't thank President Fenves and Mike Perrin enough for providing me with this incredible opportunity," Herman said in a press release. "Longhorn football has been - and always will be - a national power, winning and playing for national championships with great pride and passion, supported by an unbelievable fan base.
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Overall, Herman spent a decade as an assistant coach in the state, including stops at Texas Lutheran, Sam Houston State, Texas State and Rice. He received a master's in education from the University of Texas in 2000. He also has strong ties to the high school coaches in the state, and landed the highest-ranked prospect ever to a Group of 5 school when he signed defensive tackle Ed Oliver from Houston Westside High.
"I want to thank the University of Houston, the administration, the fans and especially the players for an unbelievable two years," Herman stated in the release. "My family and I will be forever grateful."
Strong said Texas is in a good position to win next year.
"The foundation has been laid here," Strong said. "The thing is, we've been building it for three years. Even when I looked at it, I said the third year we'll make progress, the fourth year will be our year.
"It's just like baking a cake. The cake has been baked. The only thing you need to do now is put the icing on it and slice it. That's what this team is. The cake has been baked. Now it's just ready to be sliced."
In 2015, Herman led Houston to its first New Year's Bowl in 30 years, its second 13-win season in program history and its 11th conference championship in program history by claiming the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship. He led all FBS coaches in their first year with a program with 13 wins as Houston finished third nationally with a 92.9 winning percentage at 13-1. Houston is currently 9-3.
Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando has been named as UH's interim head coach.
University of Houston President Renu Khator released the following statement:
"University of Houston football is built on decades of rich, winning tradition and there is no question that Tom Herman accelerated our resurgence. Tom left an indelible mark and I am grateful for his accomplishments and his friendship. I wish Tom and his family the best as we begin an immediate search for the next leader of our championship caliber program.
"Houston Football is committed long-term to competing for championships against top-tier programs on the national stage, and we continue to demonstrate this through our unprecedented investments in talent and new facilities. Cougar Nation has experienced a reawakening and I firmly believe this is just the beginning. I am confident we will find the right individual to lead our athletes, leverage the richest recruiting grounds in the country, and continue this upward trajectory."
University of Houston Vice President for Athletics Hunter Yuracheck released the following statement:
"In his short time in Houston, Tom Herman elevated the Houston Football program to new heights, and we are grateful for his contributions to our program. The entire University of Houston community wishes he and his family continued success in this new chapter in their lives.
"We will immediately turn our focus to identifying the next leader of our program. We are confident we will find the right individual who will support the young men who are and have committed to this program and who will also support our mission of building Champions for Life, both on and off the field.
"With a Tier One University, fertile recruiting ground, upgraded facilities including a new indoor practice facility slated to be completed next fall and a roster full of driven and talented student-athletes, the next leader of the Houston Football program will have an outstanding opportunity to compete for championships, maintain our program's national prominence and continue the H-TownTakeover.
"We are partnering with Collegiate Sports Associates on our national search and all inquiries from interested candidates should be directed to Todd Turner at Collegiate Sports Associates."
Information from ESPN was used in this report.