In 1946: The first varsity intercollegiate football team is formed at the University of Houston. The school adopts the nickname “Cougars” and the colors scarlet and white.
In 1950: The baseball team is established and plays its first game against Texas A&M, losing 8-0.
In 1967: The basketball team plays in the “Game of the Century” against UCLA at the Astrodome, winning 71-69 in front of a record crowd of 52,693. The game is the first nationally televised regular season college basketball game.
Drexler and Young, along with Larry Micheaux and new recruit Hakeem Olajuwon (known then as Akeem Olajuwon), comprised the “Phi Slama Jama” basketball fraternity that gained national attention for its acrobatic, above-the-rim play. New players were “initiated” into the fraternity by having to stand underneath the basket as Drexler drove in from halfcourt and threw down a tomahawk slam over ...
Ware grew up in the Galveston, Texas region, hoping to play football at the University of Texas. He said “I was going to Texas. All they had to do was lie to me and tell me I was going to play quarterback once I got there. Thank goodness they told me the truth [that] they were going to move me ...
In 1996: The basketball team plays in its second NCAA tournament game since 1984, losing to Temple 61-66 in the first round. Alvin Brooks becomes the head coach of the basketball team.
History of the Cougars
The Houston Cougars have a long and storied history in NCAA sports. From their beginnings as an independent program in 1946 to their current membership in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), they have been one of college football’s most successful teams. They are best known for winning three consecutive Southwest Conference championships from 1976-1978 under head coach Bill Yeoman and producing some of the greatest players to ever participate in college football.
In recent years, Houston has become a powerhouse on both sides of the ball with head coaches Tony Levine (2012-2014) and Tom Herman (2015-2016). During this period, they won two conference titles. They made four bowl appearances – including back-to-back New Year's Six Bowl games against Florida State University & Pittsburgh University, respectively. With Herman at the helm, he led them to a 13–1 record during his final season, which included wins over Oklahoma & Louisville en route to becoming AAC Champions that year!
Houston is also home to many great athletes throughout its history, such as Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware who set numerous records while playing quarterback for The Coogs from 1987 - 1989; running backs Ed Oliver Jr. and Charles Alexander; defensive linemen Elvin Bethea, and Wilson Whitley; wide receivers Andre Johnson, Donnie Avery; linebackers Darryl Sharpton & Brian Cushing; cornerbacks Aaron Glenn & Brandon Harris; safeties Earl Thomas III& Adrian McDonald name few! All these legendary athletes helped shape what we know today as “Cougar Football” or “UH Football."
UH has had 17 different coaches lead them into battle throughout its illustrious existence. Still, Coach Jack Pardee put The Coogs on the map by leading them to undefeated seasons in 1969/1970, where he was named National Coach Of The Year twice consecutively before leaving after the 1971 season. In addition, since joining FBS level competition back in 1975 through the present day, there were total 14 bowl game appearances 8 SWC Championships 4 Divisional Titles 3 AAC Championships 1 Big 12 Championship, along with several individual awards given out each year amongst student-athlete participants making Cougars proud institution not only within city limits but across the nation!
College Sports Established
University of Houston
1973 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1927 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2013 - Present / American Athletic Conference
1996 - 2013 / Conference USA
1971 - 1996 / Southwest Conference
1960 - 1971 - Independent
1951 - 1960 / Missouri Valley Conference
1949 - 1950 / Gulf Coast Conference
1945 - 1949 / Lone Star Conference
Cougars - The Houston Cougars are one of history's most successful NCAA Division I college football teams. With over 50 conference championships and two national titles, they have solidified their place as a powerhouse in college football. But where did the nickname “Cougars” come from?
It all started with a newspaper article written by Bill McCurdy, who was then the sports editor for The Daily Cougar student newspaper at the University of Houston (UH). In 1947 he wrote an editorial suggesting that UH adopt a new mascot to replace its existing one—the Rainbow Warriors—which had been used since 1927 when UH first became known as "Houston College." He proposed they choose a more fitting to represent such an esteemed university: cougars.
McCurdy argued that cougars were powerful animals and represented strength, courage, and leadership, traits associated with any team representing an institution like UH. His suggestion caught on quickly among both students and faculty alike, leading to it being officially adopted later that year during Homecoming festivities at UH's first game against Baylor University Bears on September 27th, 1947 – making them one of only four significant colleges or universities nationwide whose athletic teams use this name!
Since then, The Houston Cougars have become synonymous with success both on and off the field, winning numerous conference championships throughout their storied history while also producing some outstanding alumni, including NFL Hall Of Fame quarterback Warren Moon & NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, to name a few! They continue today wearing their iconic red & white uniforms proudly emblazoned with “COUGARS” across the chest - honoring Bill McCurdy's original vision back nearly 70 years ago!
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
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