Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jeff Dean/AP/Shutterstock (12631049a) Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen, center, stands on the sidelines during the first half of the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game against Cincinnati, in Cincinnati AAC Championship Football, Cincinnati, United States – 04 Dec 2021
Dana Holgorsen says Houston Cougars have ‘some catching up to do’ when it comes to facilities
The Houston Cougars football team finally knows who it is going to play and when it is going to play them following the release of the program’s inaugural Big 12 schedule on Tuesday.
Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen, who is returning to the Big 12 Conference after spending eight seasons with West Virginia as its head coach prior to joining the Cougars, spoke to reporters in a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon.
Holgorsen talked about the excitement of joining the new conference, but he also pointed out that there is a lot of work left for Houston to do in terms of facilities and an operations standpoint when it comes to competing and catching up with other Power Five programs.
“There is so many things that need to be done,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t think people realize what other people have and what we need. I’m not going to be shy when I say that because I have been at three of those institutions, and I know what they have. I know how much work they have put in over the past three decades.”
Currently, the Houston Cougars football team has TDECU Stadium, which opened in 2014 and seats roughly 40,000 people but can be expanded to hold a couple thousand more if needed.
Houston also has a climate-controlled, indoor practice facility that opened in 2017 and is highlighted by a 120-yard football field and a 30-yard side field. UH also has an outdoor practice facility with multiple fields, but that is it, Holgorsen said.
“It stops there,” said Holgorsen of the university’s facilities. “We all know that there is a football ops building that is kind of on the horizon. There is a lot we got to do when it comes to that. That things need to happen.”
The operation building the head coach referenced is a new football development facility that is being promoted by UH as a state-of-the-art building that is needed for the program to compete with other Power Five schools. Think of the Guy V. Lewis Development facility with men’s and women’s basketball but exclusively for the football team.
UH launched the $150 million RISE fundraiser campaign last summer to raise the bulk of the funds needed for the facility as well overall improvements across the entire athletic department.
On Wednesday, Holgorsen said UH still has ways to go to have the necessary resources for the development facility to be built.
“We got to progress when it comes to that,” Holgorsen said. “It takes time but it also takes money. We are not quite there yet, and so although I am very proud of what this university has built up until this point, it’s been first class, quality stuff, [but] the day-to-day, it ain’t close. What we got and what we are dealing with is not close to what everybody else has.”
While there is a lot of buzz around the Cougars for at long last being part of a Power Five conference, Holgorsen called for more support from Houston’s fanbase because the resources are behind those of the schools they are about to compete with.
“To see us being able to be [in] that conference is what we’ve wanted for a long time,” Holgorsen said. “OK, so be excited about it. It’s called hope, and hope is a powerful thing. We are in this position to be able to tackle what is coming up and that is great.”
“Now we need everybody to kind of put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. We’ve been wanting this for a long time, so now is the time to step up.”
Holgorsen said supporters of the program can step up in many ways, including doing something as small as attending games, buying season tickets, or becoming a member of Cougar Pride, a fundraising arm that supports the university’s athletic department with financial support.
“We’ve got some catching up to do,” Holgorsen said. “I’m well aware of what my job is and what we got to make that thing look like. I’m very comfortable saying that. What everything else needs to look like, we need support, and we are going to have to continue to improve it day in and day out, week in and week out and year in and year out.”