March 23, 2004
UH apparently hires Penders

I'll be damned.

University of Houston officials have called a news conference for this afternoon, presumably to name Tom Penders as the Cougars' new head basketball coach.

UH officials said Monday night the new coach will be introduced at 4:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. gathering at the UH athletics/alumni center that will be open to the public.

All indications are that the new coach will be Penders, 58, the former University of Texas coach whose Longhorns supplanted the Cougars in the 1990s as the state's flagship basketball program.

Penders said Monday night he had not been officially offered the job by UH athletic director Dave Maggard. If and when the job is offered, however, Penders said he is prepared to accept it.

"Yes, I would accept it," Penders said. "I've spent my whole career rebuilding programs that were down. I don't want to take over a program that's winning."

Maggard declined comment on Monday night.

It's hard for me to be objective about this transaction, because I really hated Tom Penders when he was the UT coach. He could be Bob Knight lite, or he could be Clyde Drexler redux. I just know that I'll scream myself hoarse from my vantage point behind the visitor's bench at Autry Court when he's in the house. John Lopez has an uncharacteristically good perspective on the whole thing.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 23, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

What part do you think is uncharacteristically good?

I find it to be characteristically negative, and whatever faults Lopez has with Penders, I don't concede his notion that Lucas, Rose, and Pastner were better candidates. Their track records don't compare, although they each have their strengths.

It may be that Penders is washed up, and that he's an ass, and that he will be a miserable failure, but he stood above those three. UH couldn't afford Gillispie or Eustachy (speaking of baggage!). I had hoped for the HBU coach as a darkhorse, but that would have been a reach as well. Unfortunately, a program on the verge of extinction has to make the best reach it can. Given the constraints on Cullen these days, I don't know that they could have done much better. And that's hard for me to say, because anything ever affiliated with burnt orange makes me want to puke. :)

Posted by: kevin whited on March 23, 2004 8:52 AM

I remember Penders from his days at Fordham as much as I do when he coached Texas, and he does have a solid history of turning programs around. I've seen better college coaches, but compared to what's available at the moment, Houston could have done far worse.

Posted by: William Hughes on March 23, 2004 9:22 AM

Would you prefer "I found myself in uncharacteristic agreement with John Lopez", Kevin? :-)

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on March 23, 2004 11:47 AM