|University||University of Houston|
American Athletic Conference (joining 2013)
|Athletics director||Mack Rhoades|
|Football stadium||New Houston Cougars Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Hofheinz Pavilion|
|Baseball stadium||Cougar Field|
|Fight song||Cougar Fight Song|
|Colors||Scarlet and 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.
After the dissolution of the Southwest Conference in 1996 (Houston was the last member admitted to the SWC, in 1971), in which these teams were a member, the Cougars became charter members of Conference USA as a part of the West Division. Also in the West Division of Conference USA is Houston's major sports rival, cross-town Rice University. Starting in 2013, Houston will be a member of the American Athletic Conference.
University of Houston's colors are scarlet red and albino white, and the mascot is a cougar named Shasta. The current athletic director for the Cougars is Mack Rhoades, who was hired to the position after the recent retirement of Dave Maggard.
The University of Houston competes with teams in the following sports:
Houston will add women's golf starting in 2013–14. Two players will represent UH as individuals in that school year, with a complete team to be formed starting in 2014–15.
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 will join the American Athletic Conference for 2013. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium before it was closed and demolished after the 2012 season. The Cougars are expected to play their first AAC season at Reliant Stadium before a new stadium opens on the Robertson Stadium site in 2014.
The Cougars are currently coached by Tony Levine, who completed his first full season with the team in 2012. He replaced Kevin Sumlin, who left for Texas A&M after the 2011 Cougars lost the C-USA championship game to Southern Miss. Levine's first game as head coach was a win over Penn State in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl at the famous Cotton Bowl.
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 Conference USA. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2010. The Cougars are currently coached by James Dickey 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 Conference USA 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.
Houston's most meaningful current rivalry is with cross-town Rice University, which is also a member of Conference USA. The Cougars and Rice Owls compete in football annually 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 at Austin 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.
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:
- New Houston Cougars Stadium - Football. Under construction at the former site of Robertson Stadium; will open in August 2014.
- Hofheinz Pavilion - Men's and Women's Basketball
- Cougar Field - Baseball
- Cougar Softball Stadium - Softball
- Tom Tellez Track at the Carl Lewis International Complex - Outdoor Track & Field and Soccer
- John E. Hoff Courts - Tennis
- CRWC Natatorium - Swimming & Diving
- Athletics / Alumni Center - All Sports
- Yeoman Fieldhouse - Indoor Track & Field
- Redstone Golf Club - Men's and Women's Golf
- Dave Williams Golf Academy - Men's and Women's Golf
- "Houston Athletics to Add Women's Golf in 2013-14" (Press release). University of Houston Sports Information. October 15, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- Houston Cougars Traditions. UH Athletics. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- Facilities, UH Athletics, Retrieved 19 August 2007.
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