Tom Herman is returning as Texas' coach in 2021, athletic director Chris Del Conte confirmed in the most lukewarm statement possible.
In the statement, Del Conte said it was his practice to evaluate and comment on the program at the end of the college football season. Since No. 23 Texas (6-3, 5-3 in Big 12) couldn't play Kansas on Saturday because of coronavirus issues, Del Conte announced his decision on the Longhorns' coaching future.
Statement from Chris Del Conte on Tom Herman. pic.twitter.com/jzPa680GN3— Texas Longhorns (@TexasLonghorns) December 12, 2020
Not exactly a vote of confidence.
Herman's Texas tenure has been a mixed bag. He hasn't suffered a losing season yet in Austin, going 31-18 through four seasons, but that's not nearly good enough for one of college football's bluest of blue bloods. Herman is also 3-0 in bowl seasons, but he has only had one 10-win season, capped by a Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia in 2018. Most importantly, Herman is only 1-4 against rival Oklahoma. The Sooners will play Iowa State on Dec. 19 for a potential sixth straight Big 12 championship.
The recruiting has been there as well, punctuated by two straight top-five classes and the No. 8 class in 2020. It just hasn't manifested in the win column for Herman and Co.
Herman's inability to meet Texas' standards even prompted rumors that the Longhorns were looking to former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to replace their current coach. Meyer reportedly told Texas he would not return to college football, citing health reasons.
With Meyer turning Texas down, the Longhorns may have considered retaining Herman to be their best option. He would be due a reported $15.4 million buyout — in the middle of a recession — and Texas wouldn't have had a home run hire immediately able to replace him.