UH Head Football Coach Talks Tier One, Game Time and What’s Next for the Cougars
Fresh from the Houston Cougars’ first workout of the season, University of Houston head football coach Kevin Sumlin told the UH Bauer College Alumni Association that he’s excited for the first game of the season on Sept. 3, where the team will take on the UCLA Bruins at Robertson Stadium.
“The stars have got to align, but if I didn’t feel like we are close to something happening, then I would have a different attitude,” Sumlin said. “It’s going to be a fun year. This is going to be a great year.”
Sumlin was the second featured speaker of the Spring 2011 Bauer College Alumni Association Monthly Networking Breakfast series, held on Feb. 17 at Houston City Club. Presenting sponsor Jeb Bashaw, president and CEO of James E. Bashaw & Co., introduced Sumlin to the audience.
“When I called about Kevin the words that kept coming back were ‘leader,’ ‘outstanding,’ ‘family man,’ ‘faith-filled’ man,” said Bashaw, who got to know Sumlin well when he served as a Guest Sideline Coach in 2010. “These were words that were used by friends of mine who knew Kevin personally.”
It might have been game night already judging from the smile on Sumlin’s face, as he spoke about the bright future of both the university and the athletics program and the excitement and potential for the upcoming season.
“The University of Houston has made great progress, not only in the course of many years, but particularly in the short history that I’ve been here,” he said. “I’ve seen great things happened.”
With UH achieving a Tier One designation from the Carnegie Foundation and the NCAA granting quarterback Case Keenum an appeal to return for another year, the fall semester cannot come quick enough for Sumlin.
“Every year, it seems that something new is coming down the road,” he said. “There’s a definite change, there’s a definite feeling, there’s a definite presence now.”
Sumlin spoke about the improvement that both the team and the school has made and exciting new opportunities coming in the future, including a deal with Fox Sports that will give UH a set channel and a set game day of Saturday.
“It gives us the exposure that we need,” he said. “I look forward to that. I look forward to not playing on Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday.”
But, progress is not a solo effort and change does not happen overnight, Sumlin added, attributing a great deal of the athletics program’s success and progress to its many partnerships and supportors, including UH System Chancellor Renu Khator, the UHS Board of Regents and UH Bauer.
“Everything about Bauer is first class, and I appreciate our partnership and there are great relationships that come out of that,” Sumlin said. “There are a lot of people in this room that I am proud to call my friends.”
Though last season presented unexpected challenges for the Coogs, Sumlin said the team is focusing on the new year, with new goals.
“We are in a results-oriented business, no matter what you do,” he said. “If you’re not reaching the goals that you set every year, then you have to reassess where you are and make some changes.”
Sumlin also spoke about the vision for a new stadium and the need to sellout home games, in order to compete with other universities within the conference and to bring more attention to the school.
“I think that the best thing we can do as a university or a community, or as a business community, comes in terms of ticket sales,” he added.
But in the end, for Sumlin, it is about the students both on and off the field.
“I think our relationships with our kids have really helped us branch out with our recruiting and really shows our commitment to education into a young man after he graduates.”
Presented by James E. Bashaw & Co., the BCAA monthly networking breakfasts are excellent networking opportunities that regularly attract strong attendance, with top leaders as speakers.
In March, BCAA will host Colliers Appelt Womack President Patrick Duffy. For more information or to RSVP, click here.
By Ryan Tang