Tom Herman returned the baseball field Tuesday night, but admittedly had a little more of an impact than he did when he played in high school.
The first-year Texas football coach threw out the first pitch as the Round Rock Express wrapped up a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs at Dell Diamond.
“Baseball was my first sport,” he said. “By trade I was a second baseman and played in the outfield. But I played left bench and every now and then they moved me to right bench. I’m excited for the stadium food. I haven’t had a good baseball park hot dog in a long time.”
Herman was hired by the Longhorns in November 2016, taking over after three tumultuous seasons under Charlie Strong. He spent two seasons in charge at Houston, leading the Cougars to a No. 8 ranking and victory in the Peach Bowl in 2015.
He got his first taste of competitive football after the Orange-White spring game earlier this month. The offensive side of the ball impressed in the scrimmage, while the defense showed it still had some room to grow.
Ever since then, Herman has been meeting with the players and talking about offseason goals.
“This will be a nice break from that,” he said. “I got a chance to spend the weekend with my family and I will spend time with them again this weekend. It’s nice to take a deep breath on the weekends.”
But as the college students prepare to depart for the summer, the prospective professionals, including former Texas runner back and Heisman Trophy candidate D’Onta Foreman, are looking to get drafted this Thursday.
Forman played his junior year with the Longhorns as his infant son was on life support. In a feature released by the NFL Network ahead of the NFL Draft, Foreman goes into detail on what it was like playing while his son was on life support.
D’Onta Jr. passed away after 1-1/2 months in intensive care on Nov. 5. But now Forman’s girlfriend is pregnant again with the baby expected to be delivered sometime in September.
“It’s about as powerful of a story as there is,” Herman said. “The compartmentalization to have something that tragic happen to you and your family and still have the season he did requires an immense amount of mental toughness and courage. We’re praying that everything goes smoothly this time.”
Herman will coach his first regular season game for Texas when the Longhorns host Maryland on Sept. 2.
“You can’t just do the minimum and work out eight hours a week in the summer and expect that to be enough,” he said. “You’ve got to do things on your own and organize team activities. To do that you’ve got to have leaders and we’ll continue to develop out leaders as the offseason progresses.
“These are the months where championships are made.”