|Sumlin agrees to 5-year deal with Cougars|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 14 December 2007 10:26|
Sumlin, the first black head coach in the 60-year history of the UH program, has been an Oklahoma assistant for the past five seasons under Bob Stoops. He was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2006 and the Sooners ranked third nationally this season at 44 points a game.
Houston put on quite a show to welcome the 43-year-old Sumlin. The band struck up the fight song, cheerleaders danced, and players past and present applauded before Sumlin stepped to a podium.
``I've always seen the University of Houston as a gold mine,'' said Sumlin, Houston's 11th coach. ``It's the largest city in a great football-playing state. There is a wealth of talent. Any time you have a university with that many players around it, you're going to have a great chance to win.''
Houston athletics director Dave Maggard declined to say how much the five-year deal was worth for Sumlin, who's taking his first head coaching position.
Sumlin will continue to work for the Sooners (11-2) through their Fiesta Bowl matchup with West Virginia (10-2). He planned to return to Norman later Friday.
Houston assistant Chris Thurmond was named the interim coach of the Cougars after Art Briles left for Baylor on Nov. 28. Thurmond will coach Houston (8-4) against TCU (7-5) in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28.
Briles turned the Cougars into a consistent winner, but Maggard wants the program in the national spotlight. Briles went 34-28 in five seasons, with only one losing season. Before his arrival, the Cougars had only two winning seasons in the previous 12 years.
Briles also lost three bowl games, and while the high-flying offense always ranked among the national leaders, the defense typically struggled.
``I felt the need to have someone that will set high expectations with us, will meet the high expectations we have here at the University of Houston,'' Maggard said. ``The vision here is for us to reclaim our position in the national picture.
``This guy is going to energize this program.''
Sumlin's hiring raises the total of black coaches at 119 major college programs back to six. The others are Buffalo's Turner Gill, Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom, Washington's Tyrone Willingham, Kansas State's Ron Prince and Miami's Randy Shannon.
UCLA fired Karl Dorrell earlier this month.
M before Stoops hired him before the 2003 season. He was the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach before he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator and receivers coach in 2006.