December 29 - FootballScoop first reported a rumor that the Houston Cougars were considering releasing headcoach Major Applewhite after two seasons, following an embarrassing 70-14 loss in the Armed Forces Bowl against Army Black Knights.
Dana’s buyout drops to $1M on Jan 1…. https://t.co/WvQCSdFkFr— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) December 29, 2018
December 30 - Major Applewhite was officially let go, according to Steven Godfrey of SBNation. The Houston Cougars superbooster Tillman Ferrita is supposedly ready to pony up to $20 Million to cover buyouts and staff salaries for the right coach. West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen is considered the prime target of the Cougars.
December 31 - According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports, the Houston Cougars have reached out to West Virginia for permission to contact Dana Holgorsen.
Here's our @YahooSports story on Houston formally reaching out for permission to speak with WVU coach Dana Holgorsen. Details on the timeline and another step toward a transaction that's been long expected. https://t.co/IG6k9vKd4t— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 31, 2018
In the past few days it has been rumored that the Cougars are waiting until January 1st in order to finalize a contract with Holgorsen due to his buyout language. Dana’s current contract drops the buyout amount from $2.5 million to $1 million on January 1, 2019.
December 31 (3:00 pm) - Just a formality at this point but WVU has allowed Dana to speak with Houston about their head coaching vacancy.
January 1 - The formal and inevitable conclusion of this journey was finalized 12:01 AM, when Dana’s buyout officially dropped from 2.5 million to 1 million. With that, Dana Holgorsen is now set to be the head coach of the Houston Cougars in 2019. Athletic director Shane Lyons and president Gordon Gee will be tasked with finding a new head coach.