The Longhorns are expected to name Houston head coach Tom Herman as their new coach as early Saturday, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich.
The move comes after athletic director Mike Perrin announced the firing of head coach Charlie Strong Saturday morning. Strong was dismissed after the team’s 31-9 loss to TCU, which marked his third losing seasons in as many years at Texas.
Herman is 22–4 in two years as the Cougars’ head coach. He led the team to a one-loss season and a Peach Bowl victory over Florida State in his first year at the helm. Houston also has marquee wins over No. 8 Oklahoma and then-No. 5 Louisville this season.
Herman won a National Championship in 2014–15 as offensive coordinator at Ohio State under head coach Urban Meyer. He coached as a graduate assistant at Texas from 1999–2000.
A pair of Longhorns were named finalists for two of the nation’s highest honors on Monday, as running back D’Onta Foreman was named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award and punter Michael Dickson was one of three players to qualify for the Ray Guy Award.
Foreman’s selection as a finalist comes on the heels of his 51-carry performance against Kansas on Saturday. He currently leads college football in rushing yards, compiling 1,863 yards in 10 games. His 2016 campaign places him third all-time in Longhorn history in rushing yards in a single season.
If the junior from Texas City were to win the award, he would join Ricky Williams and Cedric Benson as the only Longhorns to ever win the award. Williams paired his Doak Walker Award in 1998 with a
Dickson’s path to Ray Guy consideration has been far from smooth. He struggled last year in his first season with the burnt orange, often flustered by defenses rushing at him as he prepared to kick.
But the Australian has adjusted quite well in 2016, booming 22 punts over 50 yards on the year. He has averaged over 47 yards per punt, good for No. 4 in the nation.
Both the Doak Walker and Ray Guy awards will be given after the season on Dec. 8 at The Home Depot College
Until then, Foreman and Dickson will have one more opportunity to impress voters on the field, facing off against TCU on Friday. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 pm from Darrell K Royal–Memorial Stadium in Austin.
Update (6:30 p.m.): Athletic director Mike Perrin denied reports of Strong's firing in a statement. He said Strong is preparing to coach against TCU on Friday.
“There are a number of rumors out there about the status of Coach Strong," Perrin said in his statement. "I’ve said it all along, we will evaluate the body of work after the regular season. We have a game to get ready for against TCU on Friday, and I hope our fans will come out and support our team. We’ll discuss where things stand after that.”
Update (6:26 p.m.): Strong will coach the team's final regular season game before stepping down, according to the Brian Davis at the Statesman and ESPN.
The decision comes after the team fell 24-21 to Kansas on the road, the biggest upset loss against the spread in program history.
Strong entered the 2016 season with pressure to turn the program around after finishing 6–7 and 5–7 in his first two years, respectively. However, the team fell short of expectations with a 5–6 record with one game to play. The loss to a one-win Jayhawk team — Kansas hasn’t beaten an FBS team since November 2014 — puts Texas in danger of missing a bowl game for the second straight season.
Strong will finish with a 16–20 record in just under three seasons as Texas’ head coach.
The Longhorn men’s diving season heats up as the team competes in the Texas Diving Invitational on Thursday.
The meet will give Texas a tuneup before upcoming national meets in December.
“Well it’s a great opportunity to have an invite this close to a U.S. Nationals which is a real important event for us,” head coach Matt Scoggin said. “It’s a great dress rehearsal opportunity to dive against some of the best divers in the country.”
Senior Mark Anderson, the two-time reigning Big 12 Diver of the Year — more recently the Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Week — looks to lead his team against a very competitive field in Austin. The Longhorns will face a slew of schools near the top of the Pac-12 rankings in Arizona, Arizona State and California.
The divers will compete in preliminary rounds before diving in the finals later in the day. They will compete in the one-meter on Thursday, three-meter on Friday and the platform dive on Saturday. The meet marks the first time the divers will enter their meet fresh after lessening their weight-lifting routines.
“They’ve been diving tired at all the meets,” Scoggin said. “You want some pep in your step so that [you can make] dives that maybe are difficult to make on a daily basis in practice.”
Sophomore Meghan O’Brien, the reigning Big 12 Women’s Diver of the Week, and freshman Alison Gibson will lead Texas’ women. So far this year, O’Brien and Gibson have combined to win seven of the twelve possible diving events this season. Gibson, an Austin native, placed sixth at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials in June.
The Longhorns begin competition on Thursday at 11 a.m. and wrap up with the final round on Saturday.
The Longhorn men’s cross country team breathed a sigh of relief on Friday as they advanced to the NCAA Championships for the eighth straight year.
Thanks to an explosive performance from senior Nate Moore, the team finished the South Central Regional Championship in second place with 81 points.
Moore, who crossed the line of the men’s 10,000-meter run in fourth place, stuck with the lead pack from beginning to end. Coach Brad Herbster said the performance gave the team the necessary confidence to keep the eight-year streak alive.
“You don’t want to be the team that ends the streak,” Herbster said. “This year’s team with two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and one senior is pretty well balanced. The future is really bright.”
However, the women’s team wasn’t so fortunate, finishing in fourth place with a total of 108 points. The Longhorn women fell short of an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships and haven’t collected enough votes from previous meets to qualify.
It was a bittersweet moment, especially for senior Sandie Raines, whose cross country career came to an end this weekend. Despite her 12th-place finish — short of an individual invite to the national championships — she earned all-region honors.
“Losing Sandie next year is a big loss,” Herbster said. “But I think we’ve got women to step up and fill that role.”
Though the season is over for the women, the men remain excited for a shot at redemption. After finishing 31st in the 2015 NCAA Championships, they’re ready to prove they’re in a much better place.
“Some things didn’t go our way [last year] like having to stay the night at the Atlanta International Airport,” Moore said. “We don’t want people thinking that South Central is a weak region. We are a serious team.”
The NCAA Championships begin Nov. 19 Terre Haute, Indiana.