Our City: One for All and All For One

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Late last night, I added the following three paragraphs as an addendum to yesterday’s brief, apparently singular topic column, “All I Want for New Years is a Cougar Win”:


Thanks, Houston Cougars, for making my New Years wish come true. Your 38-24 win over a good Florida State Seminoles team earlier this afternoon not only sweetened New Years, it also turned out to be the happiest New Years Eve birthday gift I’ve ever received.

After the game, my family treated me to a terrific steak dinner at Taste of Texas, one that came complete with a complimentary birthday dessert and sparkler-lighted natal day photo salute to me making it through another year. These birthdays days always hum with hope and rejuvenation for me, anyway, but this one really came upon me with an extra special wallop charge.

Thanks, dear family! ~ And thanks again, you growling, rolling Cougars of Coach Tom Herman, thanks  for putting the special buzz on bliss for everybody in Cougar Nation this time around the birthday horn.


The lesson of UH’s win over Florida State, however, was much larger than a monumental game in the history of Cougar football and its hopefully now sooner return to national respect as big time player. It was an event that enhances the City of Houston brand as a place where people not only dream big, it is a culture where people also put their hopes into action with character, hard work, and a determination for success that actually gets the job done.

The Tom Herman story alone is the dynamo that stirs this energy drink. – How many schools anywhere have had Don Quixote come in as a football coach and take a previously lackluster group of young men in one season to 13 wins and victory over a major foe in their first year at the helm? Stop right there. You already have the list. And his name is Tom Herman. Whether he stays with us three years, five years, or a most welcome forever, by what we’ve seen, so far, Tom Herman already has placed UH on a track to restored national respect, an eventual Top Five conference home, and made UH an immediately much stronger recruitment attraction for the nation’s top high school players.

Tom Herman was no psychotic Don Quixote who only idly led any who followed him into tilting their swords at windmills they could not hope to topple with dreams alone. This UH Don Quixote came prepared to lead the Cougars into knocking down the windmills of resistance that have stood in the way of long-term success since the Yeoman years. Herman even got to the UH Board of Regents on the oblique. UH finally saw that they had to start paying their coaches at a level that would give the university a chance of retaining winners. The elevation of Herman’s salary wasn’t all that will be needed, but it was a significant step up from the “stepping stone” salary level that previously cost them Art Briles to Baylor and Kevin Sumlin to Texas A&M.

The first general point we hope to make this morning is that UH made the City of Houston look good yesterday – and anything that makes our city more respected in a legitimate way benefits us all. UH football success is not going to hurt UT, A&M, or any other Texas university. It will only help us all. It may make recruiting a little tougher, but tougher competition makes every school, including UH, stronger. – Without competition, many young student athletes will simply make the dead-head decision to just sign up with “THE” school to go to – and then lapse into the sort of entitlement culture that makes some four and five-star recruits show up at their chosen special school expecting stardom to just kick in as soon as they turn on the game cameras in the fall.

Note: UH beat talent-loaded FSU yesterday without any big five stars. Fortunately, UH was not short of players who had been taught by Tom Herman to learn and take passionate personal responsibility for playing the game to the best of their abilities for the team goal of winning.

The second point today makes sense too, but only if you see and agree that anything legitimate that makes any part of Houston look better to the world also makes the whole of Houston look better too. It is important to the issue of how we finally settle the future of the Astrodome question, hopefully, in 2016.

They may be distant and silent for now, but the whole world really is watching what we are about to do with a structure that is revered by others as an architectural icon. Will the larger reward from re-purposing the Dome’s utilization destiny for the sake of history help Houston build a new reputation as a city with the character to care about historical preservation?

Yes! You bet it will!

Astros-Emojis 01

Will the demolition of the Astrodome only serve to reinforce the impression of many others that Houston is strictly a marketplace that cares nothing about history – and a city where some developers would pave over cemeteries for additional parking space, if they could get away with it?

Yes! You bet it will!

Refresh the Happy New Year! button on that note, friends.


Temple@UH 120515 07






4 Responses to “Our City: One for All and All For One”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    A belated Happy Birthday wish, Bill. And the Cougars gave you the best present on your birthday. Many happy returns for you and UH.

  2. Rick B. Says:

    Another belated Happy Birthday & a Happy New Year!

    I agree that UH’s win made the city of Houston look good (though I think it’s sad that our culture puts so much emphasis on sports that city and school identities are often determined by sports teams’ success, or lack thereof as the case may be).

    I’m more in line with the assertion that what we do with our history (and its landmarks) is a reflection of who we are. Preserve the Dome!

  3. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:


  4. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Congratulations on your Coogs win, it was solid and one for their suffering fans to enjoy. Don’t expect to keep your coach; he’s headed to Austin or College Station after next year.

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