Houston's Penders A Man of His Word
It's not often you hear a coach doing exactly what he said he would do. Examples like Nick Saban come readily to mind, or any of dozens of other examples of coaches cutting and running on players they committed to in favor of greener pastures. Tom Penders, most recently the head coach of the Houston Cougars, does things a little bit differently.
In the past, that hasn't always been a good thing. Prior to this coaching job, he followed in Mike Jarvis' footsteps at George Washington, a job that he resigned from during several scandals in 2001 (citing burnout rather than shame as his reason for leaving).
Prior to that, he took the University of Texas squad from a 1998 team that won more than 16 games once in the previous eight years and couldn't fill the arena to 25% capacity and immediately created a squad that won at least 20 games seven times in his 10 years. That job also ended amid minor scandal.
Come back to the present. Last season, Penders coached the cougars to their third 20-win season in four years, but the only thing anyone remembered was his star player Aubrey Coleman abusing Arizona's Chase Budinger.
This season, Coleman has been a better citizen and better player, yet the Cougars finished with their worst regular season record in Penders' six year coaching tenure. However, they pulled themselves up, swept through the Conference-USA tournament, and earned themselves a ticket to the dance.
Apparently that was all Penders was after.
“I came to the University of Houston in 2004 with the goal of getting UH back to the NCAA tournament,” he said. “We achieved this goal and now it is time for me to move on. "
I must give the man credit for sticking to his word, and now the conversation will begin. What programs out there need rebuilding? What ones does he feel he can fix? Perhaps he can avoid any scandals this time around.