Houston fires coach Dana Holgorsen after five seasons

Ollie Gordon II does it again with his 3rd TD (0:36)

Ollie Gordon II has another TD on the night to advance Oklahoma State's lead 42-10 over Houston. (0:36)

Houston on Sunday fired football coach Dana Holgorsen, who had three losing seasons in his five years at the Cougars' helm.

Houston went 4-8 in its inaugural Big 12 season, which included a loss at Rice in September and three straight defeats to end the year. The Cougars finished 2-7 in the Big 12, with their wins coming in overtime against Baylor and on a last-second, 49-yard touchdown against West Virginia.

The Cougars will owe Holgorsen nearly $14.8 million in buyout money, but his deal includes a mitigation clause that could lower the amount if he takes another job.

"Over the course of his five seasons with the Cougars, Dana made strides in our football program in many ways and laid the groundwork for our transition to the Big 12 Conference," athletic director Chris Pezman said in a statement. "Ultimately, the results on the field fell below our standards of excellence. We are grateful to Dana for his efforts and commitment to our student-athletes and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors."

Holgorsen's time at Houston included some bright spots. The Cougars received an invitation to the Big 12, and they went 12-2 in 2021, including a Birmingham Bowl win over Auburn.

Houston is expected to execute a focused search, with sources telling ESPN that Tulane's Willie Fritz and UTSA's Jeff Traylor are among the top targets.

The Cougars are seeking stability and experience as they attempt to build a competitive Big 12 program, sources said. They were among the four transitioning members of the league, all of whom finished in the lower half of the standings.

Holgorsen finishes his tenure at Houston with a 31-28 record.