The 10 Dumbest Things From UH’s Decade In The AAC


Saturday is UH’s last American Athletic Conference football game. Joseph Duarte wrote in the Chronicle Wednesday morning about UH’s 10-best moments from the AAC. When I found that out, I decided to write about the 10 dumbest moments from the 10 years in the AAC. In no particular order:

H-Town Proclamation

This is possibly the dumbest thing of the AAC years, but it didn’t happen on the field or with an athlete or head coach. Robert Boudwin, aka Clutch, the Rockets mascot for 20+ years, was hired in May 2018 as director of fan engagement. His lasting contribution was that enormously large flag that is waved at football and basketball games and the H-Town Proclamation, the cringiest attempt at fan engagement ever.

The Proclamation was an 18-card, 30-second confusing chant he wanted to be recited before every game. He posted the practice run-through of the H-Town Proclamation on YouTube, and mercifully, only 116 people have ever seen it. We made sure to snag a copy for posterity:

The worst part is involving UH royalty Carl Lewis in this farce. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I don’t think the proclamation made it a whole season.

A Meniscus And An Overcoat

November 2018 until November 2019 was perhaps the dumbest year in UH history. It’s hard to see 12 months ever being dumber, which is why that period makes this list several times.

It starts with the Tulane game in 2018, another bizarre Thursday night game for the Cougars (UH’s history in Thursday night games is a whole different level of dumb).

D’Eriq King was having a monster year in 2018 before he tore his meniscus just before halftime against the Greenies. The stadium became a morgue as he was carted off and Major Applewhite knew that cart carried his entire offense. Moments later, for reasons still unclear, he then decided to accost Ed Oliver over a long jacket, usually reserved for linemen. RULES!

Why did Major do that? Who thought it would be a good idea to do on national TV? And why was Ed Oliver jawing at him heading to the locker room? Stupid.

Dana’s Hot Mic Moment

In October 2019, with QB Clayton Tune nursing a hamstring injury, UH went to UConn for an early morning kickoff. It was an ugly game that UH eventually won 24-14, but no one remembers that.

Dana Holgorsen’s hot mic moment is all anyone remembers. It was dumb, it was funny, and it was emblematic of the way the previous 11 months had gone: UH was meme-worthy but not much else.

Opening of TDECU

UH had announced TDECU while still in Conference USA and UTSA was chosen as the opponent for the opener on August 29, 2014. It was a Friday night, and UH expected a major TV audience. The stadium was sold out, and fans had genuine excitement about the program. A freshman QB, John O’Korn, had led UH to 8 wins the season before, and now with a new stadium, the future was bright.

The goofiness started in May when AD Mack Rhoades gave Tony Levine a contract extension. Levine was 12-12 against FBS opponents and had finished 4th in the AAC the previous year, notching five league wins over teams that combined to go 20-41. UH negotiated against themselves for Tony’s services.

By August, the UH hype was starting to build, and a festive atmosphere outside of the new TDECU Stadium was impressive. The stadium filled to capacity and then…

TDECU on opening night


With Travis Bush back at OC, UH ran 61 plays for 138 yards before a last-minute TD drive kept Houston from being shut out. By then, the stands were empty, and the boos had started.

Levine and Co. had ruined the debut of Houston’s first-ever stadium built exclusively for UH football. About 100 days later, Levine would be fired, and 4+ years of his new contract had to be paid off.

Twitchy Tom

The rumors were swirling for weeks (if not years) but most UH fans chose to ignore them. By Thanksgiving night, the rumors appeared true: Tom Herman was leaving UH for LSU. As the Tigers played the Aggies that night, the ESPN broadcast was mainly focused on that storyline (and not A&M giving up 54 points to an interim coach, Ed Orgeron).

The next day, Houston was in Memphis to play some other Tigers. In a moment that put him on the national stage, ESPN sideline guy Cole Cubelic cornered Herman for an interview before he walked into the locker room. It was fascinating television:

Cubelic’s question and Herman’s twitchy left eye started a new name and a meme for Tom Herman.

Instead of LSU, Herman agreed to a deal in the early morning hours the next day to become the head coach at Texas.

Les, Lane, And The Lifer

The coaching search that followed was even dumber. UH interviewed Les Miles, who showed up with a laughable binder of disorganized plans (he wanted to hire Lincoln Riley and Brent Venables as coordinators. Oh, ok!). It was so bad, Tilman Fertitta is said to have walked out of the room shaking his head.

UH then interviewed and had an agreement in principle with Lane Kiffin. Joey Freshwater had already started to assemble a staff.

But Renu Khator nixed the idea and UH hired Major Applewhite, who promised to be loyal to UH similar to Levine. After the decision to go with Applewhite was made, Fertitta called into KILT radio to bash Kiffin and stick up for Major. His words sound ridiculous in hindsight:

“Lane Kiffin did not show me anything that Major Applewhite did not show me,” Fertitta said on KILT-AM. “Sure, he’s been a head coach, and he’s been an OK head coach. But I can tell you this: It was not a safe hire.” – Tilman Fertitta


Five-Star Customer Service

Houston had just won its first conference title in 9 years. Let’s celebrate, right? But Five Star security (CSC) did not quite get the memo.

The ridiculous incident was fodder for national newscasts:

It was an embarrassing look for UH and the program took justifiable heat for the next few days.


Another weird Thursday night: UH scored on the first play of the game – a 75-yard touchdown from D’Eriq King to Marquez Stevenson. UH added another 3 scores and led 28-14 at the half.

But UH played tight in the second half and trailed late in the game when Keith Corbin dropped a sure TD with 24 seconds left. UH kicked a field goal to tie it up and expected to go to OT.

But no one told Tulane. Willie Fritz ran a trick play as QB Justin McMillan executed a Hollywood-level fake.

And then peak dumbness happened:

A few days before the Tulane game, D’Eriq’s dad told AD Chris Pezman that his son would shut it down, redshirt, and then transfer if UH lost to Tulane. Dana Holgorsen tried to gain control of the situation on Friday, and things seemed calm through Monday’s 11 a.m. weekly press avail. But less than 3 hours later, Joseph Duarte broke the news:

Shortly after, Eric King confirmed to Mark Berman that his son would transfer but UH quickly walked that back. D’Eriq King did the same in a late afternoon press conference at UH, announcing the redshirts of King and Corbin. #HTownShutdown had begun.

Of course, King had every intention of transferring and eventually put his name in the portal during the national championship game in January.

The Tweetstorm

Justin Murphy transferred to UH from UCLA in 2019, with Houston becoming his third school in as many years. He’d had a host of injuries, showed no character in his UCLA departure, and was a mediocre player with a hothead temper. Dumb dumb dumb.

He decided to quit the UH team days after the King and Corbin news and, after a terse meeting with Holgorsen, aired his frustrations in a tweetstorm for the ages:

Before coming to UH, Murphy pleaded with the UCLA compliance department to get him a sixth year of eligibility. They did so and two days later, he entered the transfer portal, eventually settling on Houston. But his Tweetstorm showed the chaos happening in the UH program.

The Final Month Of 2018

UH gave up 70 points to Army and that is like the 5th dumbest thing that happened that month. The game was laughably stupid but, then again, so is everything that surrounded it.

A quick rundown:

As soon as the season ended, GoCoogs scooped everyone with the news that Major Applewhite fired defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio.

Three days later, we broke the news that offensive coordinator Kendal Briles had been extended.

And then, on December 10, we broke the news that Kendal would be leaving for FSU:

Then the game happens. Houston gives up 70 to a service academy. Dumb. Army had scored 77 in their last three games combined. Very dumb. Two of those three opponents were FCS schools and the other was three-win Navy team. Dumbest.

Beforehand, Major Applewhite knew that Chris Pezman was sniffing around, trying to find a way to fire him (Pezman admitted as much the next summer in an an ESPN article). Applewhite made the boneheaded decision to play Clayton Tune in the bowl game, robbing him of his redshirt year (Army would be his 5th game).

There was no need for Applewhite to do that for a meaningless bowl game, and that’s even before his team gave up 70 points and 10 sacks. They also gave up 8 rushing touchdowns, tying the worst-ever by a UH team (tying a two-month-old record).

Kendal Briles announced hours after the game that he was, in fact, leaving for FSU. Beginning that same night, UH went radio silent on Major’s future, leaving him to hang out to dry for a week while they flirted with and ultimately hired Dana Holgorsen.

The entire situation was poorly handled by everyone except Holgorsen, who waited until after WVU’s bowl game to get serious about the UH job.

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