| No. 19|
Clyde Lee (5th year)
Rice Stadium (70,000)
| 8–2 (3–0 MVC)|
| Missouri Valley Conference|
The 1952 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH, represented the University of Houston in the 1952 college football season as a member of the NCAA. It was the 7th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by fifth-year head coach Clyde Lee. The team played its games off-campus at Rice Stadium, which had been built in 1950. The Cougars finished the season ranked as #19 by the Coaches Poll. It was the first time Houston finished a season as a nationally ranked team. Another first for the program was a conference championship, as the Cougars earned a perfect 3–0 record in Missouri Valley Conference play.
Following the season, Houston defensive tackle J. D. Kimmel was voted as the program's first All-American. Kimmel had been drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1952 NFL Draft prior to the season's beginning, and would later be drafted into the Houston Cougars Hall of Honor in 1973. Four other Houston players were also taken in the 1952 NFL Draft.
1952 Houston Cougars football team Wikipedia
Lines coach Harden Cooper and backfield coach Elmer Simmons had served as players for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane for head coach Lee when he was an assistant there. Ends coach Lovette Hill attended Centenary together.
During the 1953 NFL Draft, four Houston players were drafted. It was the third time in team history that Houston players were taken in the draft. Paul "Rock" Carr was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round and 82nd overall, but remained as a Houston player until after the 1953 season. Senior guard Frank James was taken by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourteenth round (168th overall), end Vic Hampel was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the twenty-fifth round (293rd overall), and end Jim McConaughey was taken by the Green Bay Packers in the twenty-seventh round (319th overall).
During the 1954 NFL Draft, five more players from the 1952 Houston team were drafted. Tackle Maurice "Buddy" Gillioz was taken by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round (22nd overall) which was the earliest that a Houston player had been taken before. Tackle Bob Chuoke was taken by the Detroit Lions in the sixteenth round (193rd overall), back Tommy Bailes was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles in the twentieth round (237th overall), quarterback Bobby Clatterbuck was taken by the New York Giants in the twenty-seventh round (316th overall), and end Don Folks was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the thirtieth round (359th overall).
Houston's John Carroll, Vic Hampel, and Frank James competed in the 1952 edition of the Blue–Gray Football Classic, while J. D. Kimmel was chosen to compete in the East–West Shrine Game.
J. D. Kimmel also became Houston's first All-American, when he was chosen by the Associated Press. Paul Carr also received an honorable mention by the news agency. Players chosen by the Missouri Valley Conference as all-conference selections were Vic Hampel, Bob Chuoke, S. M. Meeks, J. D. Kimmel, Buddy Gillioz, Paul Carr, Sam Hopson, and Jackie Howton.