Jan. 18, 2010
Houston, Texas -
University of Houston Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades announced today the university has reached in principle a new contract for head football coach Kevin Sumlin. Pending approval by the UH Board of Regents, the new contract will run through the 2015 season.
“I am thrilled to announce the agreement of a new contract that will retain Coach Kevin Sumlin at the University of Houston through the 2015 season,” Rhoades said. “I have great respect for Kevin as a football coach and, most importantly, as a person. In only two seasons, Coach Sumlin has proven himself as one of the nation's premier coaches. We look forward to his continued leadership as we strive for excellence in all areas of our football program. In all our decisions, we consider first and foremost the well being of our student-athletes. Coach Sumlin is committed to our student-athletes, their success on and off the field and in Building Champions for Life.
“The national recognition our program received this past season is a first step in the process of returning the Cougars to national prominence. As you evaluate successful programs throughout the country, stability at the head coaching position is extremely important. This new agreement provides much-needed continuity and the opportunity to achieve other necessities such as growing our season ticket base and improving facilities. The UH Board of Regents, President Khator and the entire Cougar family are delighted Kevin, Char (Charlene), Courtney, Shelby, Jackson and Joey continue to be part of our UH family and the Houston community.”
Sumlin has guided the Cougars to back-to-back appearances in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, capturing the Conference USA West Division this past season and having posted a two-year record of 18-9. In his first season at the helm of the Cougar program in 2008, Sumlin led Houston to its first bowl win in 28 years.
This past season Sumlin put the Cougars back on the national map, as he coached Houston to a 10-4 record in a season that saw UH rise as high as No. 12 in the national polls. Along the way Sumlin knocked off No. 5 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, as well as Texas Tech at home and Mississippi State on the road, becoming the only BCS non-Automatic Qualifier team to defeat three BCS AQ squads.
"First of all, I am excited about the opportunity to continue to build this program into a national contender,” Sumlin said. “We are building something special here, and the commitment that the Regents, (UH Chancellor/President) Dr. (Renu) Khator and (UH Athletic Director) Mack (Rhoades) have shown me, my staff, and certainly the student-athletes, indicate we are all on the same page and want to see the Houston Cougars winning Conference USA championships, becoming a Top 25 program as well as a nationally-competitive program.
"Our two years at Houston have been wonderful, but we know we still have much more work to do. Knowing we have the university's full commitment allows us to provide a wonderful experience for our student-athletes and continue to recruit the top student-athletes to the University of Houston.
"Plus, we know the administration is committed to upgrading our facilities, which is essential in building Cougar Football into a national powerhouse. My family and I love the City of Houston, its people and especially our wonderful fans."
Sumlin’s 2009 team led the nation in total offense, passing, scoring and first downs, while recording a 5,000-yard passer (Case Keenum) and three 1,000-yard receivers (Tyron Carrier, James Cleveland and Patrick Edwards); a feat accomplished only two other times in Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) history.
Keenum finished eighth in the 2009 Heisman Trophy balloting, was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, Maxwell Trophy and Manning Award and won the Sammy Baugh Quarterback Award. Keenum also led the nation in total offense in both 2008 and 2009, while topping the nation in passing yards per game and points responsible for in ’09.
Last week Sumlin was a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award for National Coach of the Year, and he was joined by Mack Brown (Texas), Jim Harbaugh (Stanford), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Chip Kelly (Oregon), Chris Petersen (Boise State) and Nick Saban (Alabama) in contention for the prestigious award.