Houston coach Tony Levine fired after Cougars' 7-5 campaign

Sunday December 7th, 2014

Houston coach Tony Levine has been fired, the school announced Monday morning, confirming SI.com's earlier report.​

Levine and Cougars athletic director Mack Rhoades had been scheduled to meet Monday at 9 a.m. but instead met Sunday night when Rhoades informed Levin that he was fired.​

“Although we are excited to play in our second straight bowl game, the expectations of our program have changed over the last five years," Rhoades said in a statement.​

Defensive coordinator David Gibbs will be the interim coach for Houston's appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl on Jan. 2 vs. Pittsburgh (6-6).​

Levine went 21-17 in just over three seasons with the Cougars, including posting a record of 7-5 this year. He took over the job when Kevin Sumlin left for Texas A&M in December 2012, and he coached the Cougars to a 30-14 TicketCity Bowl win over Penn State in his debut.

There were high expectations for Houston this season behind returning starting quarterback John O'Korn, but a surprising 27-7 season-opening loss to UT-San Antonio quickly dashed those hopes. O’Korn’s poor play led to his benching in early October in favor of Greg Ward Jr., who had previously been a wide receiver.

Levine also suffered a disconcerting season-opening loss in his first campaign at the helm in 2012, when Texas State beat Houston 30-13. That prompted the resignation of Levine's handpicked offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt a couple of days later.

Staff continuity has been an issue for Levine. Last season was his best at Houston, with an 8-5 record, but it came with offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, who has worked wonders in the same role for TCU in 2014.

Meacham, Texas A&M running backs coach Clarence McKinney, Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers, Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and New York Jets assistant Thomas McGaughey are expected to be considered in the search to replace Levine.

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