Houston Cougars Head Coach Tony Levine Signs Contract Extension


The Houston Cougars announced Monday night that they have extended the contract of head football coach Tony Levine. Levine, who had three years remaining on his original deal, is now under contract through 2018. The new five year deal also gives Levine a bump in pay, as his annual salary rises from $800K to $925K.

Levine took over the Cougars after the 2011 season, signing a five year contract at the time of his hiring. He had some big shoes to fill in his first head coaching campaign, as he replaced Kevin Sumlin, who left for the greener pastures of College Station following a breakout 12-1 campaign that saw U of H fall one victory short of and undefeated season and a spot in the BCS.

Levine, who was the special teams coach on Sumlin’s staff, stepped in and led the Cougars to a victory over Penn St. in his head coaching debut at the TicketCity Bowl. The Coogs went 5-7  during his first full season in 2012. Last season, U of H bounced back and posted a record of 8-5 and a trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference.

The extension for Levine ensures stability at a time when the immediate future looks to be bright for the U of H football program. The Coogs return 19 starters from last year’s team and are set to open its brand new, on-campus stadium when they kick off the season vs. UTSA on August 29th. The season opener will serve as the catalyst to what should be a big year for the Houston football program.

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Another underlying benefit of U of H giving Levine two extra years on his deal lies in recruiting. With him being in the fold through 2018, the next incoming Cougars signing class will know that the coach recruiting them will be here through the duration of their collegiate eligibility. That aspect, along with the new stadium and facilities, is a strong and attractive sticking point when selling your program in the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas.

When Levine was first hired in 2011, he made it clear that Houston was his dream job and that he hoped to be here for the long haul. He echoed those sentiments when giving his reaction to the extension in a text message to KRIV Fox 26 in Houston.

“I am very appreciative and thankful for the commitment shown by our university and its administration as we continue to grow and elevate our football program,” Levine said. “I am very proud of our student-athletes and staff and how they have represented our university, both on and off the field. With our Tier One academic program and the new stadium, we have a very positive outlook for our program’s long term success. Houston is home for me and my family and we look forward to many years of making great memories here.”