At halfway point of season, Herman still desires much from crowd
Fan support for the Houston football team needs to see an increase in numbers, and for head coach Tom Herman, it is not up for debate.
After joining a program whose fan base has been less than enthusiastic or simply didn’t care about its sports programs all together, Herman is less concerned about the past and is not letting current students and alumni off the hook that easy.
The stadium has been built, the culture is changed, yet games have failed to sell out.
Herman still hasn’t heard a valid reason as to why there isn’t more support and fan engagement. To him, there is none.
The Cougar: Talk about fan attendance and what you’ve observed from the start of the season until now.
Tom Herman: It’s good; I think the students have been great. We could probably stand another 1,000 or so students, but the SMU game was good in that I think we sold out the lower bowl and created a good atmosphere. But we have the potential to be great, and we’re not there yet.
TC: Why is it such a crucial aspect for you right now?
TH: Our team works hard. They’re literally putting their blood, sweat and tears—putting their bodies on the line—for the fans, the alumni, the students, the University and for the city of Houston. And for seven Saturdays a year, I think it’s only right that we get 39,000 to 40,000 people out there to show their support.
TC: What positive impact do you think this can have on future alumni?
TH: It’s credited to the student section—being where it’s at right now and continuing to grow will lead to these younger alumni. Once they graduate, with the good times they’re having right now, they’ll want to gravitate to those good times and hopefully it’ll transfer to more and more positive energy from the younger alumni.
TC: Did you acknowledge that it was going to be tough or did you simply expect to see immediate growth once the guys made that turnaround?
TH: Both. It would be tough, but I did expect that once we proved that we had a good product to put on the field, and that we were playing hard and that we were playing with purpose for the city of Houston and our great University. I knew it would be hard, but I did expect Coog nation to come out and support us.
TC: What do you think about fans, students and alumni being skeptical to engage themselves in this program because they feel once they get a good thing going, the coach always leaves?
TH: I don’t know what the head coach has to do with anything; it is about UH (and) the players. The fans aren’t coming to see me coach, they’re coming to watch their University be represented by these fine young men. People come to pay back to their alma mater, and if you’re not an alum. You’re a Houstonian, you’re coming to support your hometown college sports team.
TC: What do you think can be done to spark interest in those who are and have been apathetic about Cougar sports?
TH: The ones that do come are passionate, they probably all know one or two or three or five people that are apathetic and they need to grab them by their shirt collar, drag them to a game and show them what a great time it is.