March 4, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Houston fires football coach Dana Holgorsen, according to sources: Why the Cougars made the move

Houston fires football coach Dana Holgorsen, according to sources: Why the Cougars made the move

Houston has fired head football coach Dana Holgorsen, three program sources said The athlete. The Cougars lost 27-13 to UCF on Saturday to finish 4-8, losing five of their last six games.

Asked after Saturday’s game if he thought he would return as a coach, Holgorsen said: “Yes, I have a four-year contract. Contracts mean something. If they don’t want me to be a football coach, they haven’t expressed that to me. I want to be “The football coach is here.”

Holgorsen signed a six-year contract extension following the Cougars’ 12-2 season in 2021. The Cougars went 31-28 in Holgorsen’s five years at the helm, recording just two winning seasons.

The Houston Chronicle first reported that Holgorsen was fired.

Why did Houston make this move?

Since a 12-2 appearance in 2021, the team has regressed on the field, and the program’s trajectory after five seasons under Holgorsen has looked troubling. In 2022, Houston’s final year in the AAC, the Cougars were a popular preseason pick to compete for a New Year’s Six bowl bid but fell short, finishing 8-5.

This season, Houston’s first in the Big 12, has included a lot of bad losses. A Week 2 setback to rival Rice — a game in which the Cougars fell 28-0 — heightened the bad feelings. Houston followed that up a week later by failing to score an offensive goal in its first Big 12 loss to an underwhelming TCU team. The Cougars were shut out for the first time in 23 years in a loss to Kansas State and also dropped games by double digits to Cincinnati and UCF, teams enduring the same Power 5 football transition challenges that Houston faced.

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The recruitment rate has also decreased significantly. Houston has the lowest 2024 recruiting class among Power 5 teams and ranks 102nd in the FBS according to 247Sports. The Cougars, who reside in one of the most fertile recruiting areas in the country, should do much better than that, especially with the Big 12’s membership and the program’s strong infrastructure.

Houston is a program with high expectations. Holgorsen produced just two winning seasons in his five seasons there, including two 4-8 performances that ended his tenure. This is not good enough.

Who could be in the mix for this position?

UTSA coach Jeff Traylor, a candidate for the Texas A&M job, could be the top target. His name generated a lot of buzz around Houston’s job when there was some uncertainty about Holgorsen’s job status a year ago. They could also look at GJ Kinne, who led Texas State to its most wins since 2014 and its first appearance in school history.

If the school is looking at a first-time head coaching candidate, Texans special teams coordinator Jeff Banks — who has long recruited the Houston area since his time at Texas A&M and Alabama — is a possibility. The wild card candidate is former TCU coach Gary Patterson. He spent 2022 as a special assistant to Steve Sarkisian but is out of coaching this year, and we hear he’s eager to return.

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(Photo: Mike Watters/USA Today)