Houston fires Dana Holgorsen: Cougars move on from coach after lackluster debut season in Big 12

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Houston The school announced Sunday that it has fired coach Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen posted a 31-28 record during his tenure, but went 4-8 this season as the Cougars moved to the Big 12.

Houston sits at 4-5 and gets a chance to get to the bowl game after being hit Bayer 25-24 overtime November 4. Unfortunately for Holgorsen, his team has lost three straight games all year, all three losses coming by double digits. Cap was a 27-13 loser. UCF The Cougs went 476-259 in total yards, including 223-94 on the ground.

“In his five seasons with the Cougars, Dana has made significant strides in our football program and laid the foundation for our transition into the Big 12 Conference,” Houston vice president of athletics Chris Pezman said in a statement. “Ultimately, the results on the field fell short of our standards of excellence. We thank Dana for his dedication and commitment to our student-athletes and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Landing Holgorsen was seen as a coup in 2018 as Houston tried to make its case for Big 12 membership. went out West Virginia After eight seasons to sign a contract that will pay an average of $4 million, one of the richest contracts in the Big Five. His contract had a kicker that paid Holgorsen an additional $1 million immediately after Houston became a member of the Power Conference.

In the year In 2021, Holgorsen led Houston to a 12-2 record, an American Athletic Conference Championship Game appearance and a No. 17 AP Top 25 finish. But the Cougs fell to 8-5 in 2023.

Holgorsen signed a contract extension through 2022 that raises his salary to $4.5 million per season. With the layoff, Houston is now nearly $15 million in debt as it begins its first coaching search of the Big 12 era.

A successful mission

When Houston poached Holgorsen from West Virginia, the Cougars hoped to mark a Big 12 investment after Texas and Oklahoma left for the SEC, and Houston quickly emerged as the league’s top expansion option. On the field, Holgorsen soon single-handedly delivered a 12-2 campaign, which earned UH’s second-best postseason AP Top 25 ranking since the collapse of the Southwest Conference. In that sense, Holgorsen’s hiring accomplished Houston’s goals.

“We did it because we had the opportunity to make this transition,” Houston athletic director Chris Pezman said. He told CBS Sports. In May. “And now that it’s coming together, we’re looking at ways that the finances can start to work for the athletic department to support itself.”

With the long-term television deal signed, Houston will have more than $20 million more coming from the conference office than it did during its time in the AAC. That big acquisition made him feel more manageable, but more importantly, it opens the door for Houston to swing when it comes to his Big 12 future.

Attractive work

Sources around Houston believe the organization would be very attractive as a power conference location. That will be a challenge when Coogs enters the coaching market. Houston enters at the same time as Texas A&M and UTEP, and more Tex jobs could hit the market in the coming weeks.

Houston president Renu Kator said Houston is a place to fire coaches after going 8-4. Obviously, sitting in a power conference changes the math. Still, Houston’s expectations are to compete near the top of the conference, and especially against other Texans programs in the conference.

Only adding to the pressure, SMU is poised to move up to the ACC, giving the state of Texas seven Power Five schools in three of the four remaining power conferences. The state is about to become a major battleground for the college football landscape. Houston can’t afford to fall behind. With some of the best recruiting spots in the country within 20 minutes of campus, the Coogs have a lot to sell.

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