Houston hires Ohio State’s Herman to be head coach

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston is negotiating with Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman to be its new head coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because a deal hadn’t been completed.

Houston fired coach Tony Levine last week.

Fox Sports first reported Herman was expected to be Houston’s next coach.

The 39-year-old Herman, a Cincinnati native, spent the first 10 years of his career coaching in the state of Texas before becoming offensive coordinator at Iowa State (2009-11).

He has been quarterbacks coach and play-caller for Ohio State teams that have gone 36-3 the past three seasons. The Buckeyes rank fifth in the nation in yards per play this season and finished fifth in yards per play last season.

Fourth-seeded Ohio State plays No. 1 Alabama on Jan. 1 in the College Football Playoff.

Under Herman, Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller was Big Ten player of the year in 2012 and ’13. Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett stepped in this season after Miller was injured in the preseason, and Herman helped developed him into Heisman Trophy contender. Barrett set a conference record for touchdowns responsible for this season before going down with a season-ending injury against Michigan.

The next week Ohio State won the Big Ten championship game and locked up a playoff spot with a 59-0 victory against Wisconsin with backup quarterback Cardale Jones leading the offense.

Last week, Herman won the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football.

The Cougars were 21-17 under Levine, including bowl appearances the past two seasons. They finished 7-5 this season and will play in the Armed Forces Bowl against Pittsburgh at Fort Worth, Texas.

But with a new on-campus stadium and a roster that seemed to be one of the most talented in the American Athletic Conference, more was expected from the Cougars.

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