This season the University of Houston will open a new football stadium and the Cougars' head coach will have a new contract to go with it.
It was announced this week that Tony Levine, 41, will enter his third season as head football coach after he signed a five-year contract extension. UH finished 8-5 last season, (following a dismal 5-7 record the year before), its 19th season with at least eight wins.
Of course, half of the team's recent wins were against cupcakes like UT-San Antonio, Southern, Memphis and Temple, but they still count. After placing fourth in the American Athletic Conference, the Cougars finished off their season losing 41-24 to Vanderbilt in the BBVA Compass Bowl. UH finished No. 20 in the country in points allowed per game.
The Cougars lost to the top teams in the American -- Louisville and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl winner Central Florida -- by seven and five points, respectively, on the road. Had Houston won those games, they'd be defending conference champs and Levine probably would be moving on to brighter pastures.
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"As we continue to build our football program, it is important we maintain stability and show Coach Levine we appreciate all of his efforts," Mack Rhoades, UH's vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in a press release.
But college football is a funny industry. A lackluster season here, a better job offer there -- contracts don't marry men to their programs. (Cougars fans, remember a guy named Kevin?)
The contract extension is a good move for the Coogs.
For now, the contract gets Levine paid ($925,000 according to Sports Illustrated) and UH in the news before Houston Football Stadium opens (the hashtag #100days was trending locally on Twitter today) with a game between the Coogs and UTSA.