clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Let’s celebrate the college football coach who kisses his players

Tom Herman makes a statement about masculinity at Houston.

NCAA Football: Texas Kickoff-Oklahoma vs Houston
Houston Coach Tom Herman embraces quarterback Greg Ward Jr. after an opening week win against Oklahoma.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Football is our most macho of sports, yet Houston Cougars Coach Tom Herman is turning that perception in its ear by kissing each player on the cheek as they enter the stadium on game day.

“A kiss on the cheek is when he shows his love for us,” Houston safety Garrett Davis told the New York Times. “No one here is thinking, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t let him kiss me.’ ”

Herman, 41, whose Cougars are 6-1 and ranked 11th in the nation, has a simple philosophy for his methods.

“How do you motivate a human being to do things against his own nature?” Herman said. “There’s two things: love and fear. And to me, love wins every time.”

Herman also instructs any offensive player who scores a touchdown to hug one of the offensive linemen with a “two-handed embrace.” He was praised for his ways to get players to bond.

“He’s disrupting a stereotype about boys and men, a notion of masculinity that says boys and men are only driven by the desire for competition and autonomy,” Niobe Way, a psychology professor at New York University told the Times. “All the research — not just mine — emphasizes that humans are actually not driven by competition and autonomy. What we’re driven by is the desire to be in connected communities.”

Herman’s philosophy makes a lot of sense when put in the context of players who say they love their teammates; a kiss and a hug is a physical demonstration of it and only the most insecure man should be bothered by it.

Herman is a hot coaching prospect and is seen as a potential NFL coach. How cool would it be to see a pro coach kiss each player as they came into the stadium?