Over the last couple years, the University of Houston has done virtually everything right when it comes to positioning itself for a possible bump up into a Power Five Conference. They made a massive investment in a new football stadium, committed to upgrades for their basketball facilities, and made two great hires in head football coach Tom Herman and head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson.
Interest from other schools in your head coaches, specifically Herman, means you probably made a really good hire, and certainly proof of that has been abundant on the field this fall, with the Cougars one of five remaining undefeated teams in college football's FBS class, going 10-0 to start the season.
If you don't hold onto the head coach that you hired to fill the new stadium, then what's the point in all of it? That seems to be the realization that the University of Houston's Board of Regents arrived at yesterday. They don't want Tom Herman to be the head coach at USC, Miami, Missouri, or anywhere other than Houston to start the 2016 season, and so on Thursday they announced approval to increase Herman's annual salary to $3 million and increase his performance incentives.
The Board had its quarterly meeting yesterday, and it was there that UH System Chairman Tilman Fertitta made the motion to increase Herman's pay, a motion that was unanimously approved by the nine-member board. In a press release, Fertitta explained the reasoning behind the decision:
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“This board is 100 percent committed to Coach Herman, and our actions today reflect our desire to retain him,” Fertitta said. Funding for the increase will come from donors and auxiliary revenue, Fertitta said, and no state appropriations will be used. “The board will help raise these funds and much of it has already been raised,” he added.
Explaining the motion for a salary increase, Fertitta said, “Our Tier One University has a nationally relevant football program, and we will keep it that way. We have seen how students respond to a nationally competitive football program. We understand the link between academics and athletics. Our actions are designed to help the academic mission by increasing our exposure to the entire country.”
The motion specifies that both Chair Fertitta and Renu Khator, UH System chancellor and UH president, have been delegated authority to negotiate and execute the contract amendment.
Under the direction of Herman, the Cougars have enjoyed not only the on field success of going 10-0, but the box office success of increased interest in their product. The 35-34 win over Memphis last Saturday was a sell out at TDECU Stadium, and the November 27 game against Navy, which will likely decide the AAC Western Division title, is already sold out. The UH football team is currently number 19 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
Under his current contract, Herman earns $1.35 million in base and non-salary compensation annually. According to USA Today, this raise would make Herman, by far, the highest paid coach outside of the Power Five conferences, skyrocketing past Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville's $2.2 million annual salary.
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