Tom Herman: Anatomy of a College Football Upset

Tom Herman
Photo by John W. McDonough

“Houston’s why is love, and players are encouraged to work hard and play for one another more than for themselves. All week Herman pounds home the message: ‘We genuinely love the guy next to us. When you line up against Oklahoma, you know your ‘why’ is better, your purpose is greater.'”


I loved this article going behind the scenes of the University of Houston football program leading up to their match-up with perennial powerhouse Oklahoma.

The thing that jumps out right away is not only Head Coach Tom Herman’s upbeat and seemingly magnetic energy, but his preaching to his team “their why” – the team’s higher purpose, what that means for their approach, how it’s leading to their success and how it will continue to do so.

It struck me that these 18 – 22 year-old athletes could not only rally around that approach – a uniting belief¬†that extends well beyond the football field – but also embrace something like “love” as their higher purpose and what binds their team together. Love isn’t exactly something you’d expect to be used frequently in and around a football program, so I found that even more powerful.

The Houston Cougars football program is one of the most up-and-coming in the country, and it’s easy to see why from this behind the scenes look at their preparation.¬†Impressive stuff from one of the best (and most coveted) young coaches in college football today. Houston won the game 33-23.

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