AMES, Iowa - Tom Herman, the architect of one of the nation's most prolific offenses at Rice University, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Iowa State. Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads made the announcement Saturday.
"I couldn't be more excited to have a coach of Tom's caliber joining my staff at Iowa State," Rhoads said. "The staggering numbers that his offense put up at Rice are indicative of his abilities. But, beyond his coaching expertise, I believe his recruiting ties in Texas, familiarity with the Big 12 and his innovative approach to moving the football and scoring points matches my vision for Iowa State football."
In two seasons with the Owls, Herman's offenses re-wrote the school record book (nearly 50 records were broken) and helped Rice win 10 games in 2008, including the school's first bowl game since 1954. The Owls improved their win total by seven (3 in 2007 to 10 in 2008) - the best mark in the nation - during his tenure.
"I am elated to have the opportunity to coach in one of the nation's best conferences, represent an outstanding academic institution like Iowa State University and work for a head coach with the reputation of Paul (Rhoads)," Herman said. "Now, it's time to finish off the recruiting season with a flourish and then start teaching."
As a team, the Owls ranked in the Top 10 nationally last fall for passing offense (5th at 327.8), scoring offense (tied for 8th at 41.6) and total offense (10th at 472.3). Rice was seventh nationally in first downs (309) and 12th in third-down conversion percentage (49.4%). Herman-led offenses broke Rice school records for points and touchdowns in a season both years.
The Owls' spread attack completed nearly two-thirds (65.6%) of its passes and recorded a TD-to-interception ratio of 48-to-7, second-best in the nation (Oklahoma is 49-to-7 entering its final game). The quick-strike Owls had 30 scoring drives of five plays of less this season and 31 scoring marches of less than two minutes.
Among the players Herman coached were: Jarrett Dillard, who led the NCAA with 20 TD catches in 2008 (and his 60 career touchdown receptions broke the old NCAA record by 10); quarterback Chase Clement, who topped the NCAA accounting for 25.8 points per game; and James Casey, the second-leading receiver in the NCAA with 111 receptions.
Dillard and Casey each registered more than 1,300 yards receiving in 2008 and the Clement-Dillard combination connected for a NCAA-record 51 touchdowns (12 more than the old mark) in their careers. Herman also managed the unique skills of Casey, who twice this fall scored via a run, pass and reception in the same game.
"In studying tapes, I was impressed with the explosiveness of Tom's offenses as well as its ability to implement so many weapons," Rhoads said. "Multiple receivers caught many passes, his quarterback ran for nearly 700 yards and his running back averaged more than 90 yards per game the last half of the season. The diversification is impressive."
Prior to Rice, Herman directed offensive attacks for two years (2005-06) at Texas State and both Bobcat squads led the Southland Conference in total offense. The 2005 Texas State club was eighth nationally in scoring and made a deep run in the school's first-ever appearance in the Division 1-AA playoffs.
Herman also worked four years as an assistant coach at Sam Houston State, helping them to a pair of conference titles and playoff appearances. The 2004 Bearkats ranked second nationally in passing offense. One of his wide receivers, Jonathan Cooper, was the NCAA Division I-AA Wide Receiver of the Year and three of his wideouts at Sam Houston State earned All-America honors.
The 33-year-old Herman received Big 12 experience at Texas (1999-2000) serving as a graduate assistant with the offensive line on the Longhorns' Cotton and Holiday Bowl teams. His coaching start came as wide receivers coach at Texas Lutheran, in 1998.
Before the coaching bug hit, Herman worked in television and radio as a sports production assistant in Oxnard, Calif., and Los Angeles and as a highlight coordinator for FOX Sports. He also managed training sites for Adams Course Texas, which aided student-athletes in developing personal goals and leadership skills.