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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Khator, Herman leave valuable first impression on incoming students


Head football coach Tom Herman took a break from fall camp to help a few students get acquainted in their new dorm rooms. | Reagan Earnst/The Cougar

Excitement, worry and probably some angst are emotions a freshman might feel when their long-awaited move-in day finally rolls around.

However, a fortunate few also experienced astonishment when President and Chancellor Renu Khator and head football coach Tom Herman greeted them. Looking to lend a hand, Khator and Herman began unloading cars and pushing carts of the freshmen’s belongings to their new living spaces in Cougar Village II.

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President and Chancellor Renu Khator welcomes an incoming freshman into his new home. | Reagan Earnst/The Cougar

“I went to school in India and didn’t have the opportunity to live in the residence halls, but I do remember moving my two daughters in,” Khator said. “Every student that walks in here — I just feel the same way that I felt at that time and how I wanted to make sure that my daughters would be taken care of. I just hope that parents feel the same way — they can be comfortable and welcomed.”

Coincidentally, the first student the head coach helped was a former high school football player whom Herman playfully told to come walk-on the team Monday.

Herman wasted no time climbing into the back of an SUV to load each of the freshman’s belongings into the orange carts provided for the students. Move-in day holds a special place in the second-year head coach’s heart.

“I was in the middle of training camp so it was fast and furious,” Herman said. “It’s the first day I saw my wife, the first day I laid eyes on her and I said, ‘That’s going to be my girlfriend.’ I made it a point.”

Pushing a cart filled with student’s possessions, he made his way to the elevator of CVII and helped unload the items into the freshman’s room.

New residents were not the only ones who appreciated the attendance of, arguably, the two most popular figures at the University. The hundreds of student volunteers also took notice of the help from Khator and Herman, who both offered an hour out of their work day to accommodate new students.

“It’s been exciting to have (Khator) and coach Tom Herman here,” said Tanna Vayon, a volunteering junior. “I think it says that they know students are the No. 1 priority. Just coming out here and showing their support for us just makes us want to support them.”

With Herman and Khator being in the same place, one topic of discussion was not going to be ignored: UH’s potential to join the Big 12 Conference. Although neither can extensively comment on the private talks, both offered a few thoughts.

“I have always said from the very first day that we are here to build a nationally competitive program in academics and athletics,” Khator said. “We will do everything possible to showcase our University that I have full faith and full confidence.”

Khator then patted Herman on the back and called him the University’s “trump card.” She believes UH has all the necessary credentials to be seriously considered as the newest member of the conference.

Herman could feel the commitment and support from the school’s administration and that these kind of decisions are far out of his pay grade.

Redirecting his focus back to the task at hand, a car carrying another new freshman pulled up. Answering one final question on the importance of attending outreach events such as these, his answer was simple.

“This is what we believe in and that is that our football program is just a representation of our student body,” Herman said. “We exist solely for the enjoyment, the school spirit and the sense of pride from the students. So we want to be able to repay them for all of their support every chance we get.”

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