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Houston Cougars

Houston Cougars
University University of Houston
Conference American Athletic Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director TBD
Location Houston, TX
Varsity teams 17
Football stadium TDECU Stadium
Basketball arena Hofheinz Pavilion
Baseball stadium Cougar Field
Mascot Shasta
Nickname Cougars
Fight song Cougar Fight Song
     Scarlet       Albino

Houston Cougars is the name given to the sports teams of the University of Houston. Informally, the Houston Cougars have also been referred to as the Coogs, UH, or simply Houston. Houston's nickname was created by early physical education instructor of the university and former head football coach of the Washington State Cougars John R. Bender, as he had grown fond of the name during his time there. The teams compete in the NCAA's Division I and the Football Bowl Subdivision as members of the American Athletic Conference.

The official school colors of the University of Houston are scarlet red and albino white, and the mascot is a cougar named Shasta. The athletic director position for the Cougars is currently open with former AD Mack Rhoades departing Houston for an AD position at The University of Missouri. Houston's traditional rival has been Rice with whom the Cougars shared a conference with for thirty-three non-consecutive years (see also Houston–Rice rivalry).

Houston has had notable sports teams in its history including Phi Slama Jama, and the sixteen-time national champion men's golf team. The university's campus is home to many on-campus athletic facilities including TDECU Stadium (on the site of the former Robertson Stadium), Hofheinz Pavilion, and Cougar Field.

Prior to 1960, Houston was a member of several athletic conferences including the Lone Star Conference, Gulf Coast Conference, and Missouri Valley Conference. From 1960 until 1971, Houston competed as an independent. From 1971 until 1996, Houston's sports teams were a part of the Southwest Conference. After the dissolution of that conference in 1996, the Cougars became charter members of Conference USA. Houston remained a member of Conference USA until 2013, when they joined their current conference.

Varsity athletics

The University of Houston competes with teams in the following sports:

The most recently added sport was women's golf. Two players represented UH as individuals in the 2014 season (played during the 2013–14 school year), and a complete team will be formed starting in the 2015 season.[1]


UH fielded its first varsity intercollegiate football team in 1946. The Houston Cougars football team currently competes in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. After completing 18 seasons in C-USA in 2012, the Cougars joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium before it was closed and demolished after the 2012 season. The Cougars divided their home schedule in their first AAC season between Reliant Stadium and BBVA Compass Stadium; the new TDECU Stadium opened on the Robertson Stadium site in 2014.

The Cougars are currently coached by Tom Herman, who will coach his first full season with the team in 2015. He replaced Tony Levine, who was fired at the end of the 2014 regular season.

Men's basketball

The Houston Cougars men's basketball team represents the University of Houston in NCAA Division I men's basketball competition. The Cougars Men's basketball team plays in the American Athletic Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2010. The Cougars are currently coached by Kelvin Sampson and play in Hofheinz Pavilion.

Notable players for the UH Men's basketball team include Basketball Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler (who would win two and one NBA Championships respectively, both for the hometown Houston Rockets in 1994-95, with Olajuwon being the Finals MVP for both titles) and also were part of the legendary Cougars fraternity Phi Slama Jama, as well as Otis Birdsong and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes (who would win one NBA Championship with the Washington Bullets in 1978). Each of these players has had their number retired. Notable coaches for the Cougars are Guy Lewis and Clyde Drexler. Notable games for the Cougars include the first nationally syndicated NCAA basketball game, the Game of the Century.


Along with the university's other athletic teams, the baseball team is a member of the American Athletic Conference as a Division I team. They play their home games at Cougar Field and are currently coached by Todd Whitting. The Houston Cougars baseball program has appeared in numerous NCAA Regionals, Super Regionals, and College World Series.

National team championships

As of July 2, 2014, Houston has 17 NCAA team national championships.[2]

  • Men's (17)
    • Cross Country (1): 1960
    • Golf (16): 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1977, 1982, 1984, 1985

Notable non varsity sports


The University of Houston Rugby Club plays college rugby in the Division I-A Southwest Conference (SWC) against traditional rivals such as Rice University. The UH Rugby Club previously played Division III college rugby.[3] The UH Rugby Club is a registered organization sponsored by the UH campus recreation department.[4]


Houston's most meaningful current rivalry is with cross-town Rice University, which is a member of Conference USA. The Cougars and Rice Owls have competed in football, annually with a few exceptions, for a trophy known as the "Bayou Bucket," referencing one of the city of Houston's nicknames as the "Bayou City."

Historically, the University of Texas was one of Houston's principal rivals, especially after Houston joined the now-defunct Southwest Conference. This rivalry gave rise to the Houston Cougar Paw tradition.[5]


File:UH Athletics-Alumni Center 2.jpg
The Athletics/Alumni Center on Cullen Boulevard

Most of the university's major sports facilities are located along Cullen Boulevard, the central traffic artery through the campus. At times in the past, some of the university's teams have played their home games at off-campus venues such as the Astrodome and Rice Stadium. The men's golf program competes off campus because it does not have a dedicated golf course on campus. University of Houston's current sports facilities include the following:[6]

The Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer was a tenant at Robertson Stadium until 2011. The stadium hosted the MLS Western Conference Final in 2006 and 2007.


  1. ^ "Houston Athletics to Add Women's Golf in 2013-14" (Press release). University of Houston Sports Information. October 15, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^, University Houston Cougars begin a new rugby era, Sep. 20, 2010
  4. ^ University of Houston, Student Affairs, Department of Campus Recreation,
  5. ^ Houston Cougars Traditions. UH Athletics. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
  6. ^ Facilities, UH Athletics, Retrieved 19 August 2007.

External links