3 elite Dana Holgorsen replacements to make Houston a new power in expanded Big 12

Houston has opted to pay nearly a $14.8 million buyout to move on from Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen. U of H is an intriguing Big 12 job. Here are some candidates who can replace him.

Dana Holgorsen, Houston Cougars
Dana Holgorsen, Houston Cougars / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages
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It seemed like an inevitably, but it finally happened on Sunday morning. Houston has decided to move on from its head coach Dana Holgorsen after five seasons on the job. The Cougars went 4-8 in their first season in the Big 12. With big-pocketed boosters such as Houston Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta, it was only a matter of time before the underperforming Holgorsen was let go as head coach.

Holgorsen will find work immediately, as he had great success previously leading the West Virginia Mountaineers. His replacement Neal Brown is just now getting the WVU program back to what it was when he was calling the shots. However, Holgorsen may need to go be an offensive coordinator or do work as a television analyst before getting his next shot at leading a Power Five college football team.

In five years at the helm, Holgorsen went a combined 31-28 overall and 20-19 in conference play. While U of H had a great 2021 season by going 12-2, the Cougars won just two conference games upon joining the Big 12 this season. Of the four newcomers into this league, they have the highest ceiling, based on location and boosters. It is why Fertitta and others have decided to move on here.

Without further ado, here are three awesome potential replacements for Holgorsen at Houston.

Dana Holgorsen fired: 3 incredible replacements for Houston head coach

3. Gary Patterson could take Houston to levels he experienced at TCU

This may be a shot in the dark, but Gary Patterson is out there to be had. The former head coach at TCU spent last season on Steve Sarkisian's Texas Longhorns staff. While Texas has been better without him, as well as Sonny Dykes taking TCU to the national championship game a year ago in his first season at the helm, we know what Patterson is all about: Great defense and player development.

While he may be in his early-to-mid-60s, I think the Houston gig could be intriguing for a guy like Patterson. What you have to remember is that he not only won prolifically at TCU before going Power Five, but marvelously transitioned the Horned Frogs shortly upon joining the Big 12 over a decade ago. Houston is trying to do that, but has far greater financial resources than the Fort Worth school.

Truth be told, Patterson does not need to coach another down to cement his status as a coaching legend. Not to say anything he could do at Houston would unravel all that he did from a legacy perspective at TCU, but it would not be a bad time to quit coaching while he is ahead. Still, being able to help Houston go from Big 12 bottom-feeder to new league titan could certainly have his intrigue.

There are few coaches with as much experience of moving up a level and doing well than Patterson.