The Urban Meyer Coaching Tree: Is Tom Herman Destined for Success?

By Mike Young on May 25, 2015 at 10:10 am

Buckeye fans knew hiring Urban Meyer would pay off immediately on the recruiting trail – and it did. Meyer's success in that area exceeded even the wildest of expectations. 

Ohio State's 2012 and 2013 classes built the foundation for a national title and Meyer wasted little time landing commitments from some of the top talent in the country. Obviously, former assistant Tom Herman does not have the same championship pedigree as a head coach. Andre Ware and David Klingler notwithstanding, Herman does not have a program steeped in the same tradition as OSU's. 

That hasn't stopped Herman from reeling in highly-rated commitments to Houston. Within the past week, the Cougars landed two elite defensive line prospects in the 2016 class. Five-star defensive tackle Ed Oliver pledged, followed by four-star defensive tackle Jordan Elliott – who is rated as a top 50 prospect by 247 and ESPN. Both had offers from Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M, among others.

Herman is, clearly, doing a fantastic job of building a wall around the city of Houston. Oliver and Elliott are from the area and the new Cougars coach isn't afraid to go after other talented prospects in Southeast Texas. 

I suppose there isn't a bigger endorsement for what Herman's doing than Drake jumping on the Houston bandwagon. He only – temporarily – supports the best of the sports world: 

Former Meyer Assistants In Their First Seasons

Obviously, there's no direct correlation between coaches who worked under Meyer and immediate success for the programs that hire them away. If that were the case, it would be even more difficult for Ohio State to fill out the staff. 

Regardless, some former Meyer assistants had strong first seasons at their new job. In a way, it is a testament to how he prepared those coaches and how they adapted to talent not necessarily suited to their systems. 

The following FBS coaches took head coaching jobs the season after working on Meyer's staff:

Coach Record School Year
Steve Addazio 9-4 Temple 2011
Gregg Brandon 11-3 Bowling Green 2003
Dan McCarney 5-7 North Texas 2011
Dan Mullen 5-7  Mississippi State 2009
Mike Sanford 2-9 UNLV 2005
Charlie Strong 7-6 Louisville 2010
Kyle Whittingham 7-5 Utah 2005

All the above are still head coaches at the FBS level, with the exception of Sanford (now coaching Indiana State) and Brandon (now coaching Colorado School of Mines). Of the assistants who became head coaches after working under Meyer at some point  – also including Gary Andersen, Tim Beckman, Doc Holliday and Everett Withers – all but Brandon are still head coaches at the Division I level. It's also worth noting that Addazio, Andersen and Strong left their original schools for better jobs.

None of this guarantees success for Herman, but Meyer's track record of producing solid head coaches at the college level is only rivaled by one other active coach: Nick Saban. If he carries the momentum from recruiting onto the field, Herman will soon be mentioned with Mullen and Strong as the best former Meyer assistants. 

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