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Cincinnati Bengals coaching candidate profile: Tom Herman

Tom Herman could be the next great NFL coach and no one is talking about him.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Georgia vs Texas Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Former Texas Tech head coach and current USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury is the primary (and appears to be the only) college target for NFL teams with openings at head coach. Kingsbury is definitely an intriguing play caller and visionary for modern offenses, but he isn’t the only college coach the NFL should be looking at.

Nearly 400 miles from Texas Tech is the University of Texas, where a 43-year old Cincinnati native Tom Herman has raised the Texas Longhorns football program back to relevancy. Herman hasn’t reportedly been courted by NFL teams, but would he make a good candidate? Let’s look at his profile.


Herman is the head coach at the University of Texas where he just completed a 10-win season by winning the Sugar Bowl. He also had success as the head coach at the University of Houston and won a national championship at The Ohio State University as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Urban Meyer.


  • 1998: Texas Lutheran (WR Coach)
  • 1999-2000: Texas (Graduate Assistant)
  • 2001-2004: Sam Houston State (Wide Receivers Coach/Special Teams Coordinator)
  • 2005-2006: Texas State (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach)
  • 2007-2008: Rice (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach)
  • 2009-2011: Iowa State (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach)
  • 2012-2014: Ohio State (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach)
  • 2015-2016: Houston (Head Coach)
  • 2017- present: Texas (Head Coach)

Why he could work

Herman is the head coach at the University of Texas. In this, his second season with the Longhorns, the team won 10 games, finished second in the Big 12 to a very talented Oklahoma team, and upset Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Prior to Texas, Herman spent two years as the head coach at the University of Houston, winning 22 games and a conference championship.

His defensive coordinator at both stops was Todd Orlando who did a great job developing players such as William Jackson and Brandon Wilson at Houston. When Herman and Orlando took over at Texas, Orlando was able to make use of Malik Jefferson’s blue chip skill set. Previous coaches at Texas had failed to get the most out of Jefferson, but under Herman and Orlando, he had his best collegiate season.

It is not unlikely that Herman would bring Orlando with him in some capacity, and having an experienced college coach on defense will be useful against the zone read and run-pass option plays that are now prevalent in the NFL

Prior to becoming a head coach, Herman was Urban Meyer’s first offensive coordinator at Ohio State. The Buckeyes had a record of 38-3 and won a national title with Herman as their offensive coordinator.

Ohio State was not his first offensive coordinator job. Herman served as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at 4 different schools from 2005-2014. He knows how to run a modern offense effectively, and he knows how to develop a quarterback.

Herman is also a native of Cincinnati but was raised in California.

Why he may not be the guy

Herman has never coached a down in the NFL. Because of this, he will have a lot to learn in terms of how to deal with NFL personnel and NFL personalities.

As a head coach, Herman only has four total seasons of experience, so while he has had success, he has not had sustained success. Some coaches are charismatic and can get a lot out of their players right away, but as time goes on players tire of them. Opponents will also catch on to scheme and game plan better over time.

Final Thoughts

The NFL is going crazy looking for smart and innovative offensive coaches. Herman is a member of Mensa who coached under Urban Meyer, where he was a critical member of that 2014 national championship team. He has had two head coaching stints and has had immediate success at both and just upset the second best team in the SEC in the Sugar Bowl.

On top of that he has years of experience as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. This is a cutting edge coach who could be the next best thing in the NFL.