Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats notebook: Who will be Houston’s coach when it plays UA next year?


This much is known: Tom Herman, who coached Houston’s program to a 22-4 record the last two seasons, will not accompany the Cougars to Arizona Stadium on Sept. 9 next year.

Herman was hired Saturday to coach Texas after the Longhorns fired Charlie Strong.

This might happen: A former Arizona assistant or Pac-12 foe coaching the Cougars.

Houston will play its bowl game under interim coach Todd Orlando, who is the Cougars’ defensive coordinator. Houston’s bowl announcement is scheduled for Dec. 4. Orlando, a Broyles Award nominee for the best assistant coach, has more than 21 years of coaching experience including 12 as a defensive coordinator.

He is a candidate as is Houston offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, the former Texas quarterback star. Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a former Texas Tech quarterback, is also a rumored candidate. Others mentioned for the job:

Sonny Dykes, the Cal coach and former Arizona offensive coordinator. He would return to his Texas roots (his dad coached at Texas Tech and Dykes was an assistant under Mike Leach there). He reportedly has strong recruiting ties to high school programs in that state.

Lane Kiffin, the former USC coach and current Alabama offensive coordinator. This could be the ideal spot for Kiffin to work his way back into being a head coach again at a Power 5 school. Houston may sooner or later become a Power 5 program or he could impress enough to be lured away similar to how Herman was by Texas.

Dana Holgersen, West Virginia head coach. He was the offensive coordinator at Houston in 2008 and 2009 and he reportedly likes that city. He also has a solid recruiting base in Texas from his days at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State.

Arizona’s other scheduled non-conference opponent next season is UTEP on Sept. 16 in El Paso. The Wildcats have an open date to fill with a non-conference opponent on Sept. 2. That could be NAU, which generally plays Arizona every other year.


Brandon Dawkins finished five yards from eclipsing B.J. Denker’s rushing record for an Arizona quarterback. He rushed for 183 yards on 12 carries against ASU last Friday, one of three Wildcat rushers with at least 126 yards. All he needed was one more rush for six yards.

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After reading Anthony Gimino’s tweet, Denker responded with this:


Former Arizona receiver Juron Criner became the latest Wildcat to win a Grey Cup title Sunday when he caught three passes for 89 yards for the Ottawa Redblacks in their 39-33 overtime win over the Calgary Stampeders.

Other former Arizona players who are Grey Cup champions from the Canadian Football League include:

Jason Johnson, QB, with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2005.

Marcellus Greene, CB, with the Toronto Argonauts in 1983.

Terry Vaughn, WR, with Calgary in 1998 and Edmonton in 2003.

Jeff Fairholm, WR, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1989 and Toronto in 1996.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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