BREAKING: Houston set to hire Tulane's Willie Fritz to lead Cougars to Big 12 glory

USA Today

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Houston is an event city with four professional sports franchises. For the Cougars to become, and remain, relevant in the city as Big 12 members, they need to win. The brass bet on a winner with sources confirming Houston plans to hire Tulane head coach Willie Fritz if both parties agree to terms over the weekend. 

Like Cris Carter catches touchdowns, Fritz snags victories. That’s something Dana Holgorsen didn’t do enough of in his five-year tenure in Third Ward, including a 4-8 mark in the maiden voyage as Power Five members. The Cougars were 0-2 against fellow Big 12 newcomers and lost the Bayou Bucket to Rice. 

Fritz won 12 games, an AAC title, and the Cotton Bowl over USC and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams last season. His Green Wave won 11 games in the regular season and reached another AAC championship game in 2023. He posted a .500 or better record at Tulane in five of his last six seasons in charge. The program only finished .500 or better four times between 1990 and 2015 – the last before Fritz’s arrival. 

The success turning around Tulane is only one data point for Fritz. He went 17-7 in two years at Georgia Southern, posting a 14-2 record in the Sun Belt and claiming the 2014 conference title. The Kansas native won 40 of his 55 games and two Southland Conference crowns in four seasons while in charge of nearby Sam Houston. And he won a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association title back in 2003 at Central Missouri. 

If you built a college football conference on the moon and gave Fritz a few years, he’d win it. That’s what Houston is counting on. The Cougars have won two conference titles this century – 2006 in Conference USA and 2015 in the AAC. Add the 1978 Southwest Conference championship and the program only holds three outright conference titles since leaving the Missouri Valley Conference. 

Holgorsen was asked to do more with less, and he let everyone know it. He provided what he considered reasons for his lack of sustained success, but the fan base heard it as excuses. Fritz knows how to do more with less. He’s never been at a resource-rich contender that was ready-made for championships. Yet, he’s won at least one conference title at every stop of his head coaching career. If he does that at Houston, this is a home run hire. 

Houston Chronicle was first to report. 

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