Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Tom Herman Q Score has been rising steadily over the Thanksgiving Holiday. His name started getting a lot of headlines right around dinner time on Thursday when reports from multiple outlets said LSU was close to a deal with the University of Houston head coach to take over the Tigers football program.
To tamp down the rumors, LSU sent out a message during their 54-39 win over the Texas A&M Aggies that they had yet to make a decision on who would coach the squad in 2017.
“Contrary to media reports, there has been no decision made on who will be the next football coach at LSU,” the statement read. “Coach [Ed] Orgeron has done a great job of leading this team since taking over in late September and we are pulling hard for the Tigers tonight against Texas A&M. As we stated earlier, we are going to take our time and make sure we select the right person to lead our football program.”
Some of the players seem to want to keep Orgeron as chants of “Keep Coach O” emanated from the LSU locker room after their win on Thanksgiving.
Herman and the Cougars are in Memphis ready to close out their 2016 season against the Tigers. A season that started with College Football Playoff hopes after a win over the Oklahoma Sooners on opening weekend but ended dreams of even an AAC championship after a tough loss to Navy followed by a loss to SMU a few weeks later. UH would have an impact on the playoffs, however, upsetting No. 5 Louisville last Thursday, ending the Cardinals hopes of making the top four and getting in the College Football Playoffs.
The Cougars don’t plan to sit idly by while the power five conferences, one that decided not to include the school earlier this year, try to poach their coach.
“I have not been informed by Tom or his agent that they are in conversations with LSU,” UH Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said told the Houston Chronicle Thursday. “We are in Memphis together, preparing for a game.”
Chairman of the board of regents, Tilman Fertitta, said earlier this week that the Coogs wouldn’t “lose him over money.” That seems to be the case as reports from the Chronicle Thursday said Yurachek met with Herman’s agent and offered a raise of “seven-figures.”
The University of Texas still looks to be in the mix for Herman as well, despite reports that Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong will be let go after Friday’s matchup with the TCU Horned Frogs, the school has just said they will evaluate Strong’s position after the season. After news of the LSU deal being close with Herman, Texas has ramped up talks with his agent as well. Herman was considered the favorite to land in Austin earlier this week.
None of this is official of course. The only school that has asked the University of Houston for permission to talk to Tom Herman is Baylor, who seem like a distant fourth in possibly landing places for the coach that has gone 22-3 in his first head coaching gig.