Coaches Road Tour Makes First Stop
June 29, 2011
HOUSTON - University of Houston fans gathered around the head coaches and administrators at the first stop of the Coaches Road Tour Wednesday evening. It was standing room only at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Pearland, Texas, with fans getting the opportunity to ask questions, socialize with fellow Cougars and shout out a few cheers as well.
Katina Jackson, Associate Athletic Director, opened up the night with some news over the past year and upcoming summer. One of the high points being the ground breaking ceremony at the Dave Williams Golf Academy, which occurred on June 21. The state-of-the-art facility was named after legendary head coach Dave Williams who guided the Cougars to 16 NCAA team national championships between 1952-87.
Conference USA Women's Basketball Coach of the Year, Todd Buchanan, followed by thanking the fans for the support this year and keep up that enthusiasm into this upcoming season. "We've got Texas Tech at home this year along with some other great teams," Buchannan said. "It's going to be exciting with all of our newcomers as we watch them grow and become the core of this program."
New head swimming coach Augie Busch introduced himself on the big stage to Houston fans as he took the microphone next. The former University of Arizona assistant coach became the fourth head coach in Houston history on May 18.
"This is the first chance I have had to publicly thank Mack (Rhoades) for bringing me to Houston," Busch said. "There is definitely a culture of excellence here at UH and I have high expectations for this program and what we're going to be able to do. We have a lot of great home swim meets including the Conference USA Championships we host every year in mid February."
Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades took the spotlight and addressed fans on the state of the entire program. Among the highlights were the stadium project progress, the emphasis on season ticket sales and improving the student-athlete experience.
"Fourteen of our teams improved this year and we had the highest cumulative GPA in school history," Rhodes said. "This is an exciting time for us here at Houston."
Larry Jackson, Director of Sports Performances, spoke to the Cougar nation next. As a strength and conditioning coach, Jackson has access to the football team as they are monitored by him during their workouts. Jackson assured the audience that the team would be in great shape as he talked about the evolution of his nickname into `Black Death'. Being the enforcer of grueling workouts accompanies the territory.
Baseball head coach Todd Whitting was the last coach to speak as he talked about the bright future of Houston baseball.
"It's pretty weird that almost a year ago today, I was in this same place with you all as I was being introduced as the new baseball coach. Now we've had a pretty good year and our future sure is looking good. Our stadium has been going through some great renovations that will just make it all that much better."
Mike Pede, President of the Houston Alumni Association, closed up the event with remarks on the upcoming events for the organization. Away game parties, watch parties and a number of other different functions that will bring the Cougar nation together are already planned and to stay tuned for more.
Both events begin at 6:30 p.m.