Big 12 News

Houston Cougars Fire Dana Holgorsen After First Big 12 Season

NCAA Football: Texas at Houston

The Houston Cougars are moving on from Dana Holgorsen after just one season in the Big 12 Conference. The news was first reported by The Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte.

 After Houston ended the season with a 27-13 loss to UCF on Saturday, the Cougars fell to 4-8 in their first Big 12 season, with a 2-7 record in conference play. Holgorsen’s firing comes as no surprise, as it was reported earlier on Sunday by Bruce Feldman that his seat was hot and it “could go either way”.

 

Ross Dellenger noted that Holgorsen’s buyout is for about $15 million.

The Cougars lost five of their last six games this season and Holgorsen went 31-28 in five years, with only two winning seasons. Houston has regressed over the past three seasons and continued to head in the wrong direction since winning a league championship in 2021. The team went 4-8 in Holgorsen’s first year then followed suit with a 3-5 season in 2020 (shortened COVID season). With a 12-2 record in 2021, Houston claimed an AAC title, but since then went 8-5 and 4-8 this fall.

Also of note, many of Houston’s Big 12 losses weren’t even close. Their last four losses were by double digits, and of their seven Big 12 losses, they lost six of those games by 21, 23, 41, 10, 13 and 14. That’s six losses by an average of 20.3 points per game, and several were to teams who went 6-6 or worse on the season (TCU, Texas Tech, UCF and Cincinnati). These should have all been close, if not winnable games, had Holgorsen had this team ready for the Big 12, which he has had two years to accomplish.

After the loss to UCF, Dana Holgorsen was asked about his future and said, “I’ve got a four-year contract. Contracts mean something. If they don’t want me to be the football coach, they have not expressed that to me. I want to be the football coach here.”

 

It also didn’t help that Holgorsen recently said the “ship has sailed” on the 2024 recruiting class, as the Cougars have the worst recruiting class for 2024 of the 16 teams who will be in the Big 12 next season.

So now the search is on for the next Houston coach. But now that the program is in the Big 12, it will be fishing in a different pond than it has been in recent coaching carousels. It’s a desirable job that should draw interest from several quality candidates.

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