It was the end of the line for Dana Holgorsen at the University of Houston, as the Cougars sacked the head coach after a five-year tenure littered with more downs than ups, despite a stellar 2021 season that now seems a distant memory. The once-heralded coach, who famously arrived at UH with a Red Bull in hand and a vow to win games, found himself booted after a dismal 4-8 debut in the Big 12, capped by a loss to UCF that sealed his fate, as per information from The Houston Chronicle.
Holgorsen's dismissal was an inevitability, his team's underperformance a sore spot for Cougar fans and the U of H brass alike. This was a coach whose bold promises fizzled out, replaced by excuses and unpopular commentary that rankled the fanbase, according to a statement obtained by The Houston Chronicle, where vice president of athletics Chris Pezman articulated the disappointment, noting that “the results on the field fell below our standards of excellence."
Amid the mounting pressure and a third losing season on record, UH decided to cut ties despite Holgorsen's four-year remaining contract, valued at approximately $14.8 million, as assistant coach Corby Meekins steps in as interim head coach, as per an announcement on the school's decision. In a glimpse of what's to come, Houston's brass has now set the bar at a "championship-caliber football program," with Pezman confident in the school's ability to attract a strong pool of candidates backed by enthusiastic fan support and a brand-spanking new operations center on the horizon, the Houston vice president of athletics declared in a statement to the press.
Names are already swirling in the coaching carousel, with UTSA’s Jeff Traylor, Tulane's Willie Fritz, and former TCU and Texas Tech coaches Gary Patterson and Kliff Kingsbury topping the rumor mill of potential replacements, with the full weight of the university's expectations pressing down: "We will win in the Big 12," as recounted by Tilman Fertitta, the chairman of the board of regents and a megadonor, setting a clear mandate that was echoed in Pezman’s remarks to The Associated Press.
All told the Dana Holgorsen era at the University of Houston crumbled not with a bang but with a whimper, a once-promising start dwindling into a series of unmemorable seasons that have left the Cougars on the hunt for a new leader who can finally fulfill the promise of not just winning games, but birthing champions, the very success that has for too long eluded this frustrated football program.