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Houston fires head coach Tony Levine after just three seasons

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Mel Evans/Associated Press
Tony Levine was fired as Houston's head coach despite leading the team to back-to-back winning seasons.

Houston coach Tony Levine was fired Monday after three seasons at the school, including two that featured winning records.

Levine was hired after the 2011 season, when Kevin Sumlin left to coach Texas A&M. Levine had been the Cougars' receivers coach. Houston was 21-17 in three seasons under Levine, including 7-5 this season and 8-5 last season; the Cougars were 5-7 in 2012.


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The Cougars will meet Pittsburgh in the Jan. 2 Armed Forces Bowl with defensive coordinator David Gibbs -- the son of longtime NFL offensive line coach Alex Gibbs -- as the interim coach.

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Houston becomes the 12th FBS school that will have a coaching change this season.

Buffalo (Wisconsin-Whitewater's Lance Leipold), Florida (Colorado State's Jim McElwain), Kansas (Texas A&M wide receivers coach David Beaty), Nebraska (Oregon State's Mike Riley), SMU (Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris) and Troy (Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown) already have filled their vacancies. Colorado State, Michigan, Oregon State, Tulsa and UNLV still are looking for new coaches.

Houston opened a 40,000-seat on-campus stadium this season and should be an appealing job to a number of candidates. Immediate speculation centered on Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, 39, who was the offensive coordinator at nearby Rice in 2007 and '08. He also was an assistant at Sam Houston State and Texas State (when it was a FCS program) and has extensive Texas recruiting connections.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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