Tom Herman: 'If you don't want to be a head coach, then why are you doing it?'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 05, 2017

Tom Herman has described his three years under Urban Meyer as going head coaching school. Herman is trying to do the same, and you’d better have head coaching aspirations if you work for him.

Herman officially announced his staff on Thursday at a press conference, and he said running game coordinator / associate head coach Stan Drayton wants to be a head coach and will be a great one. When asked about having that desire on a staff, Herman said that’s the goal.

“They’d better all have it,” he said. “If they don’t want to be a head coach, then why are you doing it? If you don’t want to be the best at your craft, you’re probably a bit misguided. I think all nine guys aspire to be college head coaches. To varying degrees, they would all have success doing that.

“I do think it’s my job, a very tertiary job, but one I take seriously, and that’s to prepare those guys and teach the things taught to me in how to succeed in that role as head coach.”

Herman said his most important hires were defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and head strength coach Yancy McKnight, who followed from Houston. Herman also said he wouldn’t have taken the Houston job without McKnight, illustrating just how important that role is.

But it sounds like Drayton will be Herman’s No. 2 coach on the field. The pair spent three years together at Ohio State from 2012-14, and Drayton spent the last two years with the Chicago Bears, developing backs Jeremy Langford and Jordan Howard, who finished second in rushing this year.

“You want to talk about a home-run hire,” Herman said. “I was the coordinator when he was the position coach, and we could run the football. We could run the football for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest was his development of Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott. Then you go back to Arian Foster and the other backs he’s coached, and then this year in the NFL, the top two leading rushers are rookies — one being Ezekiel Elliot, who Stan Drayton coached in college, and the other being Jordon Howard, who he coached for the Bears.

“Probably the premier running backs coach in the country, and a guy that understands our system and culture and what we expect of our players. He’s going to be my right-hand man. I gave him the associate head coach title for a reason, because Stan Drayton is going to be one of the next great head coaches in college football. That was one of the reasons he wanted to come back to the college ranks. His goal is to be a college head coach. I’m committed to showing the world he’s ready to do that.” 

Herman’s coaching tree already includes one in Major Applewhite, who was promoted to the Houston head coaching job when Herman left.

Meyer has an expansive coaching tree. Herman says his job as head coach is to coach the position coaches, and creating a similar tree would reflect upon that.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to