Amid a successful first season, the University of Houston System Board of Regents voted Thursday to authorize school officials to more than double the salary of football coach Tom Herman to $3 million.
The move appears to be a preemptive strike to keep the coach, who is expected to be highly sought after by more prominent football schools at the end of the season.
"Our tier one university has a nationally relevant football program and we want to keep it that way," said Board Chairman Tilman Fertitta.
Herman currently earns a base salary of $1.35 million. But his team is undefeated and the Cougars are ranked no. 19 in the country. Herman was the offensive coordinator of the national champion Ohio State University team last year, making him even more attractive to major conference teams.
There have been no negotiations between the coach and the board thus far. Thursday's vote authorized those negotiations to begin. But Fertitta made the system's intentions clear.
"We should present and increase his salary to $3 million," he said. "Funds will come from donors and auxiliary revenue. No tuition and state appropriations should be used."
Fertitta added, "This is a board decision."
The University of Houston has shown a strong willingness to spend money on athletics in recent years. The Tribune previously reported that the school funneled more than $106 million from its academic side to sports between 2008 to 2014. That's more than double the next-highest amount transferred from academics to sports by a Texas university.
UH is currently a member of the smaller American Athletic Conference, but many fans are hopeful that its recent success could make it attractive to the more powerful and lucrative Big 12.
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