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Tulane’s Willie Fritz hired as next UH football coach

Tulane head coach Willie Fritz will become Houston’s 16th head football coach. | Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

A week after firing Dana Holgorsen following a 4-8 Big 12 debut season, the University of Houston has hired Tulane’s Willie Fritz to be the program’s 16th head football coach.

The Houston Chronicle first reported that Fritz was set to become UH’s head coach on Saturday before Tulane’s AAC Championship game against SMU, but a deal was not yet agreed to. The deal is reportedly five years long.

“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Fritz to the University of Houston and we look forward to him elevating our football program to new heights in the Big 12 Conference,” UH President Renu Khator said in a statement. “Coach Fritz has an impressive track record both on and off the field of maximizing the potential of student-athletes, which is a testament to his leadership.”

That night, Fritz led No. 22 Tulane to its second consecutive AAC Championship appearance, losing to SMU. Tulane won its first conference title since 1998 and its first major bowl game since 1935 that same season when it beat No. 10 USC in the Cotton Bowl. The Green Wave went 54-47 in Fritz’s tenure beginning in 2016, including 12 and 11 wins in each of the last two seasons.

The 63-year-old coach has an above .500 record in each of his four previous coaching stops. Fritz coached Division-II Central Missouri to a 97-47 between 1997 and 2009 and led nearby Sam Houston State to two consecutive Division I-AA title game appearances in 2011 and 2012.

After two years of coaching Georgia Southern to a 17-7 record in 2014 and 2015, Fritz took the job as Tulane’s head coach shortly after the latter season. Since then, Tulane has grown into one of the best programs in the Group of 5.

“I am truly humbled and honored to join the University of Houston family and to be a part of the strong athletics tradition at UH,” Fritz said in a statement via press release. “We will build a program that all Coogs can be proud of and I cannot wait to see the results.”

Fritz will be the Cougars’ 16th head coach in the program’s 77 years and the team’s sixth head coach, not including interim coaches, since Kevin Sumlin’s final year at UH in 2011.

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