|Rice head coach David Bailiff addresses the media yesterday as the team accepts an invitation to play in the Hawaii Bowl|
Update December 8 at 1 p.m.: UH announced this morning that it has fired head coach Tony Levine. Defensive coordinator David Gibbs will take over as interim head coach until the university hires a replacement.
"Coach Levine and I met several times throughout the season, and again late last night, to discuss the state of the program. Last night I informed him we will be moving in a different direction with our football program," university athletics director Mack Rhoades said in a statement. "Coach Levine is an outstanding leader and over the last three years he has demonstrated great commitment to our student-athletes and has been an outstanding role model for our young men. He has left the program in a better situation than it was when he inherited it."
Two local college teams go 7-5 on the season. Both teams get a bowl invite on the same day. People associated with one school are happy, ecstatic that its team is going to another bowl, rewarding the players, and growing as a program. The other program is quiet as rumors swirl that the head coach has been fired despite leading his team to a second straight bowl game.
Such is life for the Rice Owls and the Houston Cougars. The Owls, who started the season 0-3, are headed to Hawaii for the Christmas Eve Hawaii Bowl against Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. It's the third bowl in three seasons for Rice, a school that had gone nearly 40 years between bowl appearances heading into 2006. While Hawaii wasn't the school's first choice, Rice is happy for the trip, seeing it as a great way to reward its players.
The Cougars have been quiet since losing to Cincinnati 38-31 Saturday afternoon. It was the third time this season that UH had a chance to win or tie the game inside the closing minute, and the second time the Cougars found a way to lose despite having a first and goal on the final drive. But it was the perfect cap on a disappointing season that will end with the Cougars facing Pitt in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth on January 2. More »