Penders Out in Houston, Wade Up in the Air | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / August 12.
  • Penders Out in Houston, Wade Up in the Air

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    Tom Penders will step down as head coach of the Houston men’s basketball team on Monday and sophomore guard Desmond Wade of Linden, N.J. will evaluate his options.

    “Were going to sit back and evaluate the situation,” Jeff Wade, Desmond’s father and an AAU coach with the Select Stars, said Sunday night by phone. “We’re going to see who the new coach is and take it from there and see what the new coach has got to say.

    “Des liked Tom Penders, they had a good run. We don’t know after that point.”

    The 5-8 Wade was a three-time All-State performer for Phil Colicchio at Linden High. He started 31 games for the Cougars this year, averaging 5.7 points and 5.4 assists.

    If he transferred, he would have to sit out a season per NCAA regulations.

    Fanhouse reported Penders was forced out and the Houston Chronicle said he is retiring.

    ZAGSBLOG reported March 13 that Penders would step down after the season.

    A source in the Houston athletic department said athletic director Mack Rhoades told Penders before the season that this would be his last year at the school and that Penders agreed to retire.

    After Houston won four games in four days to capture the Conference-USA tournament and qualify for the NCAA tournament, Penders said he wanted to remain at the school, but was told that was not an option, the source said.

    After Houston (19-16) lost to Maryland in the first round of the NCAAs, Penders and Rhoades reportedly met Sunday and came to an agreement.

    “There will be an announcement regarding the future of the men’s basketball program in the near future,” Rhoades told the Houston Chronicle.

    Penders, 64, compiled a record of 121-77 record (.611) in six seasons at Houston. The Houston Chronicle reported that the school would have to pay $500,000 to buy out his remaining two  years.

    Penders became the ninth coach to lead four schools to the NCAA tournament. He previously guided led Rhode Island, Texas and George Washington to the Big Dance.

    ZAGSBLOG previously reported that former Kentucky and Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie was a leading candidate to replace Penders. Gillispie and Rhoades have a friendship dating to the time when Rhoades was a senior staffer at UTEP.

    Several other candidates have been mentioned, including former NBA coach Avery Johnson, former USC and NBA coach Tim Floyd and Texas assistant Rodney Terry.

    “I hear Billy Gillispie, Avery Johnson, Tim Floyd and the coach from Texas [Terry] were interested,” Jeff Wade said.

    (Photo courtesy Houston Athletics, Houston Chronicle)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.