|2019 Houston Cougars|
|Athletic director||Chris Pezman|
|Head coach||Dana Holgorsen|
|1st year, 3–4 (.429)|
|Home stadium||TDECU Stadium|
|Stadium surface||Artificial Grass|
|Location||Houston, Texas, U.S>|
|Conference||The American (AAC)|
|Past conferences|| Lone Star (1946–1948)|
Gulf Coast (1949–1950)
|Template:Houston Cougars history|
|All-time record||444–370–15 ()|
|Postseason bowl record||11–15–1 ()|
|Conference titles|| Missouri Valley: 4|
Conference USA: 2
|Rivalries|| Rice Owls (rivalry)|
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (rivalry)
|Colors||Scarlet and White
|Fight song||Cougar Fight Song|
|Marching band||Spirit of Houston|
Since the 2014 season, the Cougars have played their home games on campus at TDECU Stadium, which was built on the site formerly occupied by Robertson Stadium, where they played home games from 1941 to 1950 and from 1997 to 2012. Over the history of the program, the Cougars have won eleven conference championships and have had several players elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, including a Heisman Trophy winner.
In 1941, Johnny Goyen, then sports editor for The Cougar, and Jack Valenti, president of the sophomore class, began a petition for an official intercollegiate football team at the university. The next year, the two called a student body meeting to organize another petition. This petition's purpose was to challenge Rice Institute (later known as Rice University) to a football game. The Rice Owls were an established program, having played since 1919 as a member of the Southwest Conference. In August 1945, the University of Houston announced that the school would field a football team for the first time. Following the announcement, the Lone Star Conference, spearheaded by Theron J. Fouts of North Texas and Puny Wilson of Sam Houston State, extended an invitation for Houston to join on October 25, 1945.
In September 1946, the team became a reality after Harry Fouke, UH's first athletic director, hired successful high school coach Jewell Wallace, and tryouts were held. One hundred thirty students showed up, only ten of whom had actually played college football before. Many of the married students lived on-campus at a makeshift village for World War II veterans, while some others lived in the university's recreation center in bunks for naval recruits training at UH during the war. Prior to joining the Cougars, Wallace served as head coach for San Angelo High School. During the spring training for the first team, Goyen and Valenti's petition was finally answered, as Coach Wallace arranged a small practice game between Rice and Houston. The meeting was to be at Rice. When the team arrived at the field in their practice uniforms, they realized that the game was much more serious. Officials were there, and the stadium was full of spectators. The game ended with Rice demolishing the Houston Cougars. The game had an attendance of 11,000. It wouldn't be until 1971 that the Cougars and Owls competed again.
Playing in Houston Public School Stadium as a part of the Lone Star Conference on September 21, 1946, the Cougars played their first official game against Southwestern Louisiana Institute (later known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) using the Split-T offensive strategy. Although Charlie Manichia, the Cougars' starting quarterback, scored the first touchdown of the game (and in Cougar history), the team lost to SLI 13–7. The next game, the Cougars played against West Texas State Teachers College (later known as West Texas A&M University), and won their first game 14–12. The Cougars finished up their first season with a 4–6–0 record. Wallace continued as head coach for the Cougars until the end of the 1947 season, when assistant coach Clyde Lee took over.
Clyde Lee, a University of Tulsa assistant coach, became Houston's second head coach in February 1948. To replace the remainder of Wallace's team that didn't return, Lee turned to junior colleges for the majority of his recruiting. At this time, the University of Houston, along with Texas Tech University, attempted to join the established Southwest Conference, but were rejected. In response, several universities from the Lone Star Conference formed the Gulf Coast Conference. This marked the Cougars' first time playing as an NCAA University division team (later known as simply Division I), and the first time Houston offered athletics scholarships. Also during this time, Lee set up formal housing facilities for students. The 1949 season was prefaced with an act of vandalism from Houston fans on the campus of The College of William & Mary. William & Mary was the opening game of the season between both schools.
In 1951, the Cougars began playing in the Missouri Valley Conference, moved into Houston Stadium, and made it to their first bowl game. The 1952 season proved to be a breakout one for the Cougars, and the team claimed the conference title. In addition to being ranked No. 19 in the nation by UPI (the first time the Cougars were nationally ranked), 1952 also marked the first meetings between UH and Texas A&M University, University of Arkansas, and Ole Miss. J.D. Kimmel, a former player for the Army Cadets, became Houston's first All-American when the Associated Press chose him for the 1952 team. The year after, UH met with the University of Texas at Austin for the first time in football. Such events proved that the team was growing quickly. However, in 1954, Lee retired from coaching after a 37–32–2 overall record. Lee was credited with having transitioned the Cougars from a small-time team to a legitimate collegiate force in football.
|2016||Tom Herman; Major Applewhite||9-4|
|2014||Tony Levine, David Gibbs||8-5|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Wizig, Jerry (1977). Eat 'Em Up, Cougars: Houston Football. The Strode Publishers, Inc. Template:Citation/identifier.
- ↑ "Sports Shavings", The Dallas Morning News, August 23, 1945, p. 6.
- ↑ "Lone Star Conference Invites U. of Houston", The Dallas Morning News, October 26, 1945, p. 15.
- ↑ Writes, Tobi. Fix Your Danged Stadium Already! (No. 3: Rice University).
- ↑ Facilities: John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. University of Houston athletics. Retrieved on April 8, 2008.
- ↑ "Houston Thumbs Down", Amarillo Globe-News, January 4, 1946, p. 12.
- ↑ Carpenter, Tom (September 10, 2003). Cougar '48 alum was UH's first sports hero. The Daily Cougar. Retrieved on April 8, 2008.
- ↑ "Lee Houston Football Coach", The New York Times, February 18, 1948, p. 40.
- ↑ Ratliff, Harold. "Southwest Conference Votes Down Expansion", December 12, 1948. Retrieved on March 29, 2010.
- ↑ "Southwest Loop May Admit Texas Tech", St. Petersburg Times, May 4, 1954. Retrieved on July 22, 2009.
- ↑ Starting Early This Year. Toledo Blade (July 31, 1949). Retrieved on March 29, 2010.[dead link]
- ↑ Houston University Joins Missouri Valley Conference. St. Petersburg Times (June 20, 1950). Retrieved on May 29, 2010.
- ↑ Houston Powers to 33–19 Win. St. Petersburg Times (November 30, 1952). Retrieved on May 29, 2010.
- ↑ Nelson, Lindsey (July 26, 1953). Michigan State Again Picked As Top Grid Power. Toledo Blade. Retrieved on July 22, 2009.