Houston Cougars interim head coach Tony Levine is officially the man in charge, the school announced Wednesday. He'll take over for the departed Kevin Sumlin, who's prepping to lead Texas A&M into the SEC. Task one is the same as it was the day before: ready for the TicketCity Bowl against the Penn St. Nittany Lions.
In a statement, athletic director Mack Rhoades gushed about his new coach:
"I'm so pleased to be able to announce Tony Levine as our new head coach," Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said. "Before we began this process we talked about the characteristics we wanted in the leader of our football program and Tony embodies each of those qualities. We spoke with former players, current student-athletes and interviewed some of the top football coaches in the country, and all of our talks led us right back to Tony.
"We consistently talk about building a program and building upon our culture here at UH and when you have the perfect fit right here on staff, you feel fortunate. But we still wanted to do our due diligence. We talked to some great folks, some people that are already outstanding Division I head coaches, but the best fit for UH is Tony Levine."
Levine has been an assistant at UH for four years, becoming assistant head coach two years ago. He's also been running the special teams and coaching tight ends. Previous stops have landed him at Louisville and Louisiana Tech, with a Carolina Panthers gig in there too.
Levine on his new job:
"I'm both humbled and excited to have this opportunity to lead the Houston Football program and continue my work with our student-athletes and staff," Levine said. "This is a dream come true for me and my family. We love Houston and I'm proud to say that Houston is our home. When you have the opportunity to lead a program, it has to be more than a job. Houston is a destination spot. Continuing to build this program is a personal challenge because this place means so much to us. We have new facilities on the horizon, we are heading into an AQ (Automatic Qualifying) conference, we have the vision and leadership of Mack Rhoades and President Khator and we have the best fans and student support in America. That's why Houston is so special."
For more on all the coaching moves thus far, here's SB Nation's 2011 College Football Coaching Carousel Tracker.