Texas Football's Investment into Personnel/Support Staff
First-year head coach Tom Herman has not shied away from discussing Texas Longhorns football being behind in several different areas. This revelation is unfortunately nothing new to the UT faithful who have endured hearing the same story for too many years to count.
The trend of the Longhorns lagging behind top programs dates back to the Mack Brown era, when it took until 2013 for Brown and Co. to realize Texas was one of the only Big 12 schools without a Director of Player Personnel on staff. (Meanwhile, MANY other programs had the position, and others like it, in place since its NCAA approval in 2007.)
Brown added a couple of new personnel and support staff during his final season in Austin. Charlie Strong continued to grow the football staff a little more.
But to Herman, it was still not enough.
UT President Greg Fenves and AD Mike Perrin have given Herman the go-ahead to expand even further. In addition to getting approval to move forward with facility upgrades, the head coach was also given the freedom to hire any new staff members needed in order to help get Texas back to where the program needs to be.
And the head coach did not hesitate.
In the above table, you can see Herman has added quite a few new positions when compared to the former regime, including investing in a Creative Department headed up by former Alabama Football Director of Creative Media Matt Lange, who now holds the same title at Texas.
Another significant change Herman made was dividing the “Director of Player Development and High School Relations” job into two separate positions – hiring Kevin Washington as the Director of Player Development and Bob Shipley as Director of High School Relations.
The running total of newly created personnel staff positions is five, according to UT figures HD obtained through Open Records requests.
In an effort to compare the hiring trends inside the football department, HD obtained through open records detailed Texas football department staff data from the final year of the Mack Brown era to present day.
Open records research concluded Strong added four new personnel/support positions to his staff during his first 18-months on the job: Director of Football Administration Clifford Snow, Director of On-Campus Recruiting Reed Case, Director of Student Leadership/Player Development Octavious Bishop and Special Assistant to the Head Coach Katherine Sawyer.
While he hired several of his own staffers to fill the roles he did not retain from the previous regime, Strong did keep a handful of Brown's guys in their same role, including Director of High School Relations and Player Development Kenneth Rucker, Assistant AD for Football Operations Marcus Tubbs and Assistant Director of Player Personnel Justin Wright, to name a few.
Herman has gone in his own direction.
Herman has not held back from doing things his own way since he arrived in Austin. He has continued to mention how the powers that be have yet to tell him no when approached with his ideas on how to return Texas to national prominence. Herman’s close-to-complete staff is evidence of that.
There’s no doubt Herman has the confidence and support of his bosses, who believe in what the head coach is doing. In only three-months on the job, Herman has taken a lot of steps in the right direction behind the scenes to help achieve his goal of returning the Longhorns to the top of college football ranks.
For the first time in a while, UT football has more of a fresh vibe surrounding the program. And Herman is the person to thank for it.
What We Learned from Week 1 of Spring Football?
Texas football concluded its first week of spring football last Thursday, just before taking off practice this week for UT's Spring Break. Texas fans who are watching are eagerly waiting for any type of answers/hope to come from spring football practice. But after two days, the news is essentially what you would expect, not much.
The Longhorns spent the first two practices of Spring in shorts (well, bike shorts), and most people who have watched unpadded football practice will agree it is nearly impossible to accurately assess what a team will become without pads.
That pretty much sums up the situation for Texas.
Here's a review of some of the more important notes of mention from Week 1 of Spring Football:
- James Locke and Naashon Hughes have apparently emerged as leaders through winter conditioning. Tom Herman has praised both defensive players for their work in the offseason, adding much needed leadership to the Longhorns' locker room.
- Safety Jason Hall suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out for the remainder of spring.
- Herman has been very critical of the defensive line's performance throughout winter conditioning. He called out the position group at his Spring Football press conference last week, in what came off to me like the head coach trying to light a fire in the D-linemen.
- Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger are splitting a lot of the QB reps so far. Not that this matters much right now. But in the window of practice media members has been able to watch thus far, Buechele was the first QB to take snaps and Ehlinger was second.
The Longhorns put on the pads Tuesday, March 21.
Texas Football Contracts Remain in the Works, But Raw Numbers Reveal Increase
The University of Texas is still working to finalize the contracts of Tom Herman and his assistant coaches, according to UT Open Records coordinators. However, the base salaries, obtained by HD through Open Records, show the Longhorns football department will be forking out a little more in coaching staff salaries moving forward than in prior years.
The biggest jump in salary comes in Todd Orlando, a.k.a. Herman's only seven figure assistant. Orlando's $1,090,000 annual salary ranks him among the highest paid assistant coaches in college football.
Running backs coach Stan Drayton is the second significant jump in salary, adding $130,000 to the position. (However, former RBs coach Anthony Johnson was also Strong's lowest paid assistant coach.)
So where does that put Texas amongst its conference foes?
Without knowing the details of all contracts, it's difficult to compare exactly how the Texas staff salaries will measure up with other Big 12 programs. But based off the figures obtained through open records, the Longhorns remain among the highest paid staffs in the conference.
UT football's $10,135,000 in current coaching staff salaries would place second among all Big 12 public school's last season, falling just behind the Oklahoma Sooners, according to USA Today's College Football Assistant Coach Salary Database.
Herman has the on-field staff in place, and has built a solid team behind the scenes. Moving forward will be about the head coach proving his staff's salaries will pay off in the win column, especially considering the level of talent the Longhorns have on the team.
But in the very limited time I've spent covering Tom Herman, I can tell he is not someone who accepts mediocrity, IN ANY FORM. He knows exactly what he wants out of the people he surrounds himself with, and has been extremely successful in his career.
Only time will tell if that's the case at Texas, but something tells me Herman will be a guy who delivers.