Houston Cougars Overview

Fast facts

League: Division I (NCAA)

Head Coach: Kelvin Sampson

Team Mascot: Shasta

Year Opened: 1969

Capacity: 7100

City / State: Houston / Texas

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

Bayou Cup: Houston-Rice

Rival Team: Rice Owls

Houston and Rice have an intense rivalry that spans a variety of sports. Bragging rights in the city of Houston are always on the line when the Cougars and Owls meet, and things became even more intense in 2002 when the Bayou Cup was added to the rivalry. Don’t miss the annual Houston-Rice game, as it’s always one of the biggest games of the year.

Houston Cougars vs SMU Mustangs

Rival Team: SMU Mustangs

The rivalry between Houston and SMU on the gridiron is a great one, and the two don’t like each other all that much on the hardwood either. While the football rivalry reigns supreme, there is enough bad blood between Houston and SMU that you’ll be in for a treat when attending a Houston-SMU basketball game.

Houston Cougars Stadium Guide

In Game

The Phi Slama Jama days may be over at Houston, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time attending a Cougars basketball games. Around the arena, you’ll still be able to find relics from Houston’s rich basketball past including trophies and banners celebrating the team’s many accomplishments.

The Cougars also still have a pretty good basketball following, and there are plenty of traditions on display at a Houston game to keep you entertained. A Cougars basketball game features all of the pageantries you’d expect from a college hoops game including a stellar pep band, a cheer squad, and lovable mascots. The student section is home to some great traditions as well including jingling their keys during the last minute of the game to let the opponents know to warm up the bus.

Fertitta Center is located on the University of Houston campus, which is home to several places to grab a bite to eat including Frenchy’s Chicken and The Den sports bar. However, if you’re making the trip to Houston from out of the area, you’ll want to explore the city and check out downtown Houston for more options.

A Cougars basketball game is a fun way to spend some time in Houston and presents an excellent chance for you to see where the great Phi Slama Jama teams played.

Things to check out

Trophy Case

Make sure to stop by the trophy case in the main lobby to see all of the basketball program’s accomplishments from over the years. The trophy case is a must-see for any college hoops fan and a fun way to reminisce about the Cougars’ glorious basketball past.


You’ll find a variety of banners hanging around Fertitta Center. The banners celebrate Houston’s greatest players, including Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, as well as the school's Final Four and NCAA Tournament appearances. Take a trip around the stadium before the game to take them all in.

Cougar Hand Sign

An excellent way to show off your Cougars pride is through the Cougar Hand Sign. The Hand Sign has you holding your right index finger to your palm with your thumb.

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Shasta is the name of both of Houston’s official mascots, the live one, and the anthropomorphic one. Houston’s live mascot dates back to 1947 and has been served by six different Cougars. Today you can find the official live mascot, Shasta VI, at the Houston Zoo. However, only the costumed mascot makes appearances at games.

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Scoring Dunks

Back in the school’s Phi Slama Jama days, fans would score the Cougars pre-game dunks. Unfortunately, Houston’s pregame routine was banned. However, you can still see scorecards in the crowd after a Cougars dunk in-game, so keep your eyes peeled for them when attending a game.

Key Jingling

During the last minute of the game, Houston fans jingle their keys. The tradition is a fun way to let opposing teams know to warm up the bus, so don’t forget your keys when attending a Cougars basketball game.

Spirit of Houston Pep Band

Houston is home to an incredible marching band, and the pep band is among the best as well. The Spirit of Houston provide most of the music found in Fertitta Center, which creates a great atmosphere, so enjoy their music during your trip to Houston.

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Fight Songs

  1. C-O-U-G-A-R-S!

    C-C-O-U - This cheer goes like this C-C-C-O-U! G-G-G-A-R! C-O-U! G-A-R! Go Cougars!




  2. Hail Houston!

    Houston fans chant Hail Houston! Hail YES! Hail Cougars! HELL YES! Hail. Then opponents chant HELL NO! and this can be repeated several times.

    Hail Houston! Hail YES! Hail Cougars! HELL YES! Hail.

    Hail Houston! Hail YES! Hail Cougars! HELL YES! Hail.

    Hail Houston! Hail YES! Hail Cougars! HELL YES! Hail.

  3. Our Cheer

    The drum major starts this cheer by yelling “Our Cheer!” Then the band responds with C-O-U-G-A-R-S COUGARS! COUGARS! COUGARS!




  4. Cougar Fight Song

    Houston’s primary fight song

    Cougars fight for dear old U of H
    For our Alma Mater cheer.
    Fight for Houston University
    For victory is near.
    When the going gets so rough and tough
    We never worry cause we got the stuff.
    So fight, fight, fight for red and white
    And we will go to victory.

  5. Eat ‘Em Up

    Eat ‘Em Up! Eat ‘Em Up! Go Coogs Go!

    Eat ‘Em Up! Eat ‘Em Up! Go Coogs Go!

    Eat ‘Em Up! Eat ‘Em Up! Go Coogs Go!

  6. Alma Mater

    All hail to thee,
    Our Houston University.
    Our hearts fill with gladness
    When we think of thee.
    We’ll always adore thee
    Dear old varsity.
    And to thy memory cherished,
    True we’ll ever be.

Houston Cougars Bars & Restaurants

  1. Home Plate Bar & Grill

    Mike Speedway Lounge Beer Northstar Bar and Grill Beer Shipleys Tavern Beer Press Box Sports Bar Beer

    Downtown pub across the street from Minute Maid Park popular for pre- & post-game eats & drinks.

    1800 Texas St, Houston, TX 77003, USA

    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  2. O’malley’s Stage Door Pub

    Omalleys Stage Door Pub

    Local bar with over 100 different types of bottled beer, fabulous deli sandwiches, pool table, dart board, Golden Tee, and lots of memorabilia.

    2022 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  3. Murphy’s Irish Pub

    Murphys Irish Pub bar

    Bagpipers and Green Beer

    213 22nd St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  4. Third Base

    Third Base bar

    Third Base offers a wide variety of activities, games, foods, and drinks! The big TVs for sporting games are a big plus as well.

    16504 Sea Lark Rd, Houston, TX 77062, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  5. Old Cellar Bar

    Old Cellar Bar

    Best little Irish Pub in Galveston with one of the largest rotating draft walls on the island!

    2013 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  6. Cellar Bar

    Cellar Bar

    Cellar Bar has been a place to find great drinks and good times for over a decade.

    Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77098, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $

  7. Olde City Pub & Grill

    Olde City Pub and Grill beer

    Houston's first choice for true Irish fun on the best day of the year and they don't hold back.

    14124 Stuebner Airline Rd, Houston, TX 77069, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  8. Molly’s Pub

    Mollys Pub

    Seated in the heart of downtown Houston, Molly’s Pub provides a wide variety of beer & drink specials.

    509 Main St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  9. Lucky’s Pub

    Luckys Pub

    Lucky's Pub is a great place for after work Happy Hour! Conveniently found near the big venues for sporting events in Houston

    801 St Emanuel St, Houston, TX 77003, USA


    Bar website

    american - sportsbar - $$

  10. Coaches Pub

    Coaches Pub bar

    We have what you need, great food and a lot of home recipes.

    2204 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $$

  11. Spot Lounge & Bar

    Spot Lounge and Bar

    Quintessential dive bar where professionals get unprofessional.

    4709 Emancipation Ave, Houston, TX 77004, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  12. The Den

    The Den beer

    The Den never fails to give its patrons the best experience, drinks, and quick bites. Make sure you get to experience that!

    4835 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77004, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $

  13. Cougar Grounds

    coffee Cougar Grounds

    This campus hot spot features gourmet coffee, blended coffee drinks, deluxe teas, pastries, desserts and more in the hip atmosphere of an independent, urban coffeehouse.

    4800 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77004, USA


    Bar website

    cafe - $

  14. McAlister’s Deli

    McAlisters Deli sandwich

    Proud to serve real food that you can feel good about.

    4434 University Dr Suite 187, Houston, TX 77204, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  15. Taco Cabana

    Taco Cabana

    Experience the flavors and traditions of Mexico in Taco Cabana.

    5930 Gulf Fwy, Houston, TX 77023, USA


    Bar website

    mexican - $

  16. Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack

    Rays Real Pit BBQ Shack

    Known for its hickory-smoked meats served with homemade sides and desserts all made fresh daily, the restaurant also serves burgers, salads, soups, po’boys, baked potatoes and fish and shrimp dinners in a casual and relaxed dining room.

    3929 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX 77021, USA


    Bar website

    american - bbq - $$

  17. Shipley Do-Nuts

    Shipley Do Nuts

    We are always serving up fresh do-nuts, warm kolaches, freshly brewed coffee, ice cold milk and many other delicious breakfast favorites.

    3726 Scott St, Houston, TX 77004, USA


    Bar website

    cafe - $

  18. Pink’s Pizza

    Pinks Pizza

    Amazing pizza and great beer selection!

    4701 Calhoun Rd #140, Houston, TX 77004, USA


    Bar website

    italian - pizza - $$

  19. Eric’s Restaurant

    Erics Restaurant

    Eric’s is a casual-dining restaurant, specializing in modern and classical American cuisine.

    University of Houston, 4450 University Dr Room 227, Houston, TX 77204, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  20. Chick-fil-A

    Chick fil A burger

    "We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve."

    5940 Gulf Fwy, Houston, TX 77023, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  21. Frenchy’s Chicken

    Frenchys Chicken

    Delicious fried chicken & Creole cooking served in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas since 1969.

    4646 Scott St, Houston, TX 77004, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  22. Cream Burger

    Cream Burger fries

    The most delicious go-to burgers in town!

    3481 Elgin St, Houston, TX 77004, USA


    Bar website

    american - $

  23. Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

    Petes Dueling Piano Bar

    It's a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar!

    1201 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  24. Dirt Bar

    Dirt Bar

    "We're Dirt Bar. We play Rock n' Roll."

    1209 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    sportsbar - $

  25. Tejas Grill & Sports Bar

    Tejas Grill and Sports Bar

    Tejas’ menu would be a mix of burgers, unique appetizers, tex-mex, steaks, and salads.

    1201 Lamar St, Houston, TX 77010, USA


    Bar website

    american - mexican - sportsbar - $$

  26. Hearsay Gastro Lounge

    Hearsay Gastro Lounge

    Upscale-casual pub & New American eatery serving innovative drinks in a 1880s brick building.

    218 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    american - steakhouse - $$

  27. The Grove

    The Grove

    The Grove restaurant offers a modern and elegant urban dining experience unlike anything else in downtown Houston.

    1611 Lamar St, Houston, TX 77010, USA


    Bar website

    american - steakhouse - $$

  28. Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

    Houston Flying Saucer

    Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. Offering a wide variety of imported and domestic quality craft beers.

    705 Main St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    american - $$

  29. Irma’s Southwest Grill

    Irmas Southwest Grill

    Casual spot for familiar Southwestern eats including fajitas, shrimp tacos & combo platters.

    1475 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    american - mexican - $$

  30. Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse

    Vic and Anthonys steak

    With an award-winning menu and a stunning selection of wine, Vic & Anthony's redefines every expectation of class and fine dining.

    1510 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002, USA


    Bar website

    american - steakhouse - $$$$