Herman Family Profile

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 10/03/2012 3:08 AM
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Family Remains Priority In Herman Household Despite Hectic Lifestyle
By Michael Chung

The cameras are rolling, the spot light is blinding, interviews are prearranged and games are played. When the game ends, more interviews are given, more cacophonous highlights, then on to the next one.

In the world of big-time college sports, it never ends.

If the team loses, criticism abounds and some rabid fans even push the boundaries of free speech, threatening harm due to their own emotional dissonance. The spotlight can be stressful when you’re under a microscope.

What about those who aren’t front and center? What goes through the minds of innocent family members who are part of the runaway train that is major college football in the year 2012?

Michelle Herman is one of these individuals. As the wife of Ohio State’s first-year offensive coordinator Tom Herman, Michelle is behind the scenes, watching from a far, yet closer than anyone.

Humble Beginnings

Tom and Michelle Herman
© Tom and Michelle Herman
Tom and Michelle Herman

She was 18, a young, smart, introverted college freshman in the dorms of the University of California Davis, when Michelle met Tom. Never in her dreams did she expect to meet her husband so soon, but meet they did, in the very dorm that she would spend her freshman year of college.

He was extroverted, confident and very funny, something that a young, shy, introvert found attractive. He jokes that Michelle was the only person who ever found him funny, but lucky for him, that one person turned out to be the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. They dated immediately and have been together ever since, much to the chagrin of every eligible bachelor on the UC Davis campus.

Tom’s humor, wit and charming good looks would stir a heart’s pledge of a marriage vow that would lead Michelle all over the country for the next two decades of her life. Hardly seeing him at times, while shouldering the burden of a college coach. Loneliness sometimes was more of a companion than her life’s partner.

“You have to be pretty resourceful. I had to learn how to use things like power tools because I couldn’t wait for Tom to come home and do household projects,” Michelle says.

“In beginning it was really hard, it was not what I was use too; I did not know how to handle the schedule. I had to find ways to keep busy, but over time, it becomes normal.”

They were only kids back then. Tom was 23 when he got his first coaching job as the wide receivers coach at Texas Lutheran University. He was fresh off a playing career as a wideout at California Lutheran University, a private Evangelical Lutheran school just outside Los Angeles.

Tom and Michelle Herman
© Tom and Michelle Herman
Tom znd Michelle Herman

Today, nearly 20 years after they met, Tom Herman relaxes around the house by doing home projects. His nickname at home, according to Michelle, is “The Leveler” because he is so precise in hanging pictures. The man in charge of Ohio State’s offense put up every picture in the Herman household, but his skills are not limited to hanging photos; Tom enjoys replacing toilets and shelves – he would rather leave the home repairs to himself than pay for a professional because he finds it relaxing, a way to engage his mind outside of the X’s and O’s of the football field.

“He was an only child of parents who divorced,” Michelle told the-Ozone.

“He moved around a lot with his mom, but his dad was not absent though not a part of his life like his mother. Tom says he was raised by women but learned how to toughen up and value male relationships over the years.”

Michelle went on to say, “He had to be very independent because there was not a dad around to do everything. He taught himself how to do a lot of things like learning how to use power tools.”

While Tom was coaching the wide receivers at Sam Houston State University from 2001-04, Michelle received her master’s degree in Finance. She also has aspirations of studying for a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) some day.

Michelle was not totally alone, pilgrims on the same journey accompanied her to help carry the burden.

“Coaches wives are some of my closest friends and they understand what you are going through and what you are doing,” said Michelle.

“We are not vocal during the season, and we spend more time with each other than we do our own husbands.”

Urban’s Way

Although that has changed a little bit since her husband was hired to coach the offense at Ohio State under Urban Meyer back in December after three years at Iowa State University.

“Tom has more family time at OSU than he has anywhere else he has worked,” Michelle said.

“Urban likes to incorporate family time into the work schedule and is big on maintaining domestic connections. Tom gets Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sunday mornings as family time. Families are always welcome in the offices and at practices.”

It’s not as much face time as one might think. Michelle isn’t even sure what her Husband does, exactly, from about Thursday afternoon until Sunday evening.

“He is usually watching film and Friday he is with the team, eating team dinner with them so he is probably memorizing the playbook during the week,” she said of her husband.

“Wednesday he gets off early for a ‘date night.’ Urban wants to make sure coaches are spending time with their families. Thursday night is family dinner night where the families have dinner with the players and the coaches are home earlier that night too. Friday he is getting ready for the game.”

The Herman Family
© Tom and Michelle Herman
The Herman Family

When Meyer called Herman about the coaching position in Columbus, it came as a bit of a surprise for both partners. It also worried Michelle, who already wasn’t seeing much of her husband at Iowa State, but she has been pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere at Ohio State.

“I have seen Tom more here at Ohio State than anywhere else he has coached,” she says, “which seems odd because Ohio State is the highest profile program Tom has been a part of.”

Herman was a graduate assistant under Mack Brown at the University of Texas from 1999-200, but it wasn’t until Meyer spent a year away from football that he really became intrigued by what the now-37-year-old Herman was doing offensively.

“Urban saw his offense during his one year away from coaching and was impressed,” Michelle said.

“He saw similar things Tom was doing at Iowa State as he had done in the past. Urban called to see if he would be interested to interview and of course, Tom jumped at the chance.”

The rest is history

Herman was hired to coach the quarterbacks and run the offense in Columbus. He has been instrumental in Ohio State’s 5-0 start to year one under Urban Meyer, but Michelle has been equally impressed with the job Shelley Meyer has done as the first lady of OSU football.

Michelle Herman
© Tom and Michelle Herman
Michelle Herman

“I am not trying to kiss up to her since she is the leader of our group, but she is awesome,” Michelle Herman proclaimed.

“I feel very comfortable around her; she is down to earth, friendly, nice to get to know, and she is a big supporter of the wives. She is very approachable, has a good sense of humor, of all the head coaches’ wives I have been around – and I have been around some great ones – she is the most down to earth that I have met. Which seems strange since they are the most successful couple in terms of accomplishments I have been around.”

That is an undervalued, but extremely important part of being the wife of a high-profile football coach like Urban Meyer, especially at a school like Ohio State.  

“The head coach’s wife is the organizer, she is the reference point, if someone needs information, you will go to her, and she sends emails during the week to keep everyone informed.”

Behind every great man is a great woman, and it’s clear Ohio State has a few of them in Shelley Meyer and Michelle Herman. Paper cannot begin to express the poise and eloquence with which Michelle carries herself.

Hopefully, this glimpse into the lives of Michelle and Tom will give everyone in Buckeye Nation a taste of the rock solid individuals who surround this program.

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