Houston — Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman was hired as Houston’s new coach Tuesday.
Herman, considered possible candidate for the Michigan opening, takes over for Tony Levine, who was fired last week.
Herman agreed to a five-year, $6.75 million deal to take over the Cougars, who went 7-5 this season.
He has been quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for Ohio State teams that have gone 36-3 the past three seasons. The Buckeyes ranked fifth in the nation in yards per play two straight years. He will remain with the Buckeyes throughout the team’s playoff run.
Under Herman, quarterback Braxton Miller was Big Ten player of the year in 2012 and ‘13. Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett stepped in after Miller was injured in the preseason this year, and Herman helped develop him into a Heisman Trophy contender. Barrett set a conference record by accounting for 45 touchdowns before going down with a season-ending injury against Michigan.
The next week, Ohio State won the Big Ten championship game and locked up a playoff spot with a 59-0 rout of Wisconsin with backup Cardale Jones leading the offense.
“We received great interest from a number of talented candidates nationally,” Houston athletics director Mack Rhoades said. “Throughout this process, Tom Herman’s name continued to rise above the rest of the field.”
Herman won the Broyles Award as the top college assistant coach last week.
“He is an extremely gifted football coach and his aptitude to lead and connect with his student-athletes is special,” Rhoades said. “Tom’s ability to recruit at a high level is directly related to his genuine personality and how well he relates with all types of people. His dynamic leadership skills and experience and respect of high school coaches throughout the state of Texas will serve our program well.”
The 39-year-old Herman, a Cincinnati native, spent the first 10 years of his career coaching in Texas before he became offensive coordinator at Iowa State (2009-11).
Herman said he was excited to “make the city of Houston and the great state of Texas proud.”
The Cougars were 21-17 under Levine, including bowl appearances the past two seasons. They will play in the Armed Forces Bowl against Pittsburgh at Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 2.
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs will coach Houston in the bowl game.