On Monday afternoon, Willie Fritz was announced as the 16th Head Football Coach in the history of the University of Houston. While it is hard to screw up a celebratory press conference and high hopes are expected, Fritz knocked every aspect of this press event out of the ballpark. In fact, every decision maker involved with this knocked it out of the park.
Hats off to Tilman Fertitta.
Hats off to Dr. Renu Khator.
Hats off to Chris Pezman.
There should be no question of how committed the university is to the football program after these past two and a half weeks. 18 days ago, the university broke ground on the $130 million Memorial Hermann Football Operations Center. 9 days ago, the difficult economic decision to relieve Dana Holgorsen of his coaching duties was made. Yesterday, a new head coach earning $22.5 million with an assistant pool of $6.75 million to play with was announced. UH is INVESTED in success on the field and off the field.
Fritz came across as personable, friendly, knowledgeable, experienced and most importantly: grateful. The previous administration had an air of arrogance exuded by its leader at nearly every opportunity.
Fritz opened the presser with one of the most emphatic "Go Coogs" you will ever hear in your life. He then used a Kelvin Sampson analogy, sharing how some people are "born on 3rd base and think they hit a triple", but that he has worked and earned every step of his career, ending in "getting his home run" by being named the Head Coach at UH. He then went on to thank the administration, his family and most impressively, every stop he's had in his 30 year coaching career.
This attitude was echoed by Dr. Khator as she closed her remarks for the day. "We are not an entitled bunch," said Khator. "But we are people who are hungry, have fire in their belly, dreams in their eyes and passion in their heart."
Only time will tell if Willie Fritz will be a success at the University of Houston. Depending on a number of factors, next year will most likely be a rough season record wise. That's a long term question but there are a number of pressing short term questions:
Who will enter the portal from last year's team? Can Fritz snag any of his standout players from Tulane to come with him? Who will be on his staff? Can a weak recruiting class be added to?
There's a lot to figure out in a short amount of time. But if this next era of Houston Football is built on earning success vs. expecting to be given success, the program will actually reflect what it's like being a true Houston Cougar. Finally, what we've been waiting for.