Houston’s Sumlin Gets His Day

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: August 3, 2008

HOUSTON — University of Houston head football coach Kevin Sumlin recently spoke to a crowd of alumni and Cougars fans at the “Houston Touchdown Club’s Kevin Sumlin Day” at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.

Sumlin, who enters his first season as the head football coach at the University of Houston was an assistant for seven seasons at the University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University.

He becomes the 12th head coach in UH history and the first African-American to lead the prestigious Cougar program. The pace has been fast and furious for Coach Sumlin since being hired at Houston.

He had to hit the recruiting trail, hire assistant coaches, and has had a series of football camps throughout the state. About 350 alumni and fans were in attendance for the Touchdown Club luncheon.

Sumlin addressed various people in the audience including Frenchy’s Chicken (Title Sponsor), Chad Clay and Neal Farmer of the Touchdown Club, and former Houston Cougars football coach Bill Yeomen.

“It’s extremely important to come out and talk to college alumni,” Coach Sumlin said. “What’s important to UH and this city is the University of Houston.”

“Athletic Director Dave Maggard and UH President Dr. Cantu have provided the resources and I have nine to 10 of the most talented coaches in the business”.

Sumlin has had a great deal of success in recruiting in the state of Texas. He’s a man of strong character, who will set expectations for his players. He has respect for the players and they have respect for him.

At age 43, Sumlin arrives in Cougar Country after spending the past five seasons at the University of Oklahoma, where he served as both the co-offensive coordinator-wide receivers coach (2006-07) and special teams coodinator-tight ends coach (2003-05).

The Sooners finished fifth in the nation in scoring offense at 42.3 points per game, while ranking 19th nationally in total offense averaging 448.9 yards. The Cougars are going to be good.

Yes, it’s true the past two years they won a combined 18 games and made one trip to the Liberty Bowl as the Conference USA Champions (2006). Sumlin has a good core of returning talent. Footwork became a priority and the receivers were introduced to the notion of precise route running.

On defense, the players were re-introduced to various coverage techniques. For the Cougars to be good they will have to out-execute opponents rather than try to outscore them.

Houston, who is predicted to finish second in the Conference USA Western Division, will open the season at home against the Southern Jaguars. They will play host to Air Force (Sept. 13), UAB (Oct. 11), Tulane (Nov. 8), Tulsa (Nov. 15), and UTEP (Nov. 22nd). They will travel across town to face rival, the Rice Owls on November 29th.