Dana Holgorsen fired, despite “a f-ing impossible buyout”

Holgorsen was given five years to turn the program around


Dana Holgorsen was fired by the University of Houston today after a disappointing five-year run. In 2023, his offense sputtered in non-conference play and the Big 12. Dana had four years left on his contract and is owed approximately $18.84 million.

He leaves Houston with a 31-28 record (20-19 in AAC/Big 12). Going back to his time at West Virginia, his teams have finished 4th or worse in the conference in nine of the last 12 years, including four of five at UH.

Dana’s comments earlier this year drew the ire of UH fans as he bragged he was invincible over the next few seasons.

He was not.

“We won bowl games in back-to-back years,” Holgorsen told Sam Khan of The Athletic last spring. “I have five years on my contract with a f—ing impossible buyout. … So there ain’t no f—ing hot seat in my mind. There just ain’t.”

In 2019, he was caught on a ESPNU live feed during the UConn game screaming, “I can’t coach this shit.”

He could not.

In 12 games this year, UH averaged 21.9 points per game in regulation. In four Big 12 road games, Houston averaged 14.5 points in regulation. “I need to coach better,” Holgorsen said in 2022 after an embarrassing home loss to Tulsa.

He did not.

A disastrous finish to 2023 forced the hand of the UH administration. The Cougars lost five of the last six games, winning only the Baylor game in OT with a two-point conversion. Houston averaged 17.67 ppg in the final six games of the year.

In those six games, Holgorsen’s team scored only 37 points in the second halves. Only one of Houston’s four wins this year came by more than three points. Six losses were by 10 points or more, and the average margin of defeat was by three scores (16.38). Houston did not score in a game for the first time since September 2000.

The 2023 team went long stretches without competing. They were:

  • down 28-0 to Rice,
  • outscored 26-3 by TCU over the last 33 minutes,
  • outscored 35-7 to end the Texas Tech game,
  • down 21-0 to start the UT game,
  • blanked 41-0 by Kansas State,
  • outscored 34-7 over the last 32 minutes of the Oklahoma State game, and
  • after an opening-drive touchdown, outscored 27-6 by UCF.

Prior to the 2023 season, Holgorsen bragged that his 2021 and 2022 teams combined to win 20 games, including two bowls, which looked good on paper. But the evidence always suggested a program in decline. From 12 wins in 2021 to 8 wins in 2022 to four wins in 2023, the team was in free-fall. And the wins were not spectacular – 12 of the 24 wins over the last three years were by one score – with a majority of them over mediocre to bad teams:

11-3 UTSA (2022)
9-4 SMU
8-4 UTSA (2023)
8-4 WVU
8-5 ECU (2021 and 2022)
7-6 Tulsa (2021)
7-6 Memphis (2021, 2022)
6-7 ULL
6-7 Auburn
5-8 Rice (2022)
4-8 Rice (2021)
4-8 Navy (2021 and 2022)
3-9 Temple (2021, 2022)
2-10 USF (2021)
2-10 Tulane (2021)
1-11 USF (2022)
1-11 UConn (2021)
FCS Grambling

16 of the 24 wins were over 7-6 teams or worse. The Hail Mary win over WVU is the only win over a P5 team with a winning record.