March 21, 2008
HOUSTON - In a time where talk is cheap, University of Houston men's basketball head coach Tom Penders and director of athletics Dave Maggard recently showed that they aren't afraid to put their money where their mouths are.
Penders and Maggard committed Friday to donating $1,000 each for 200 student tickets and 200 tickets to be distributed to UH faculty and staff members for the Cougars' matchup against Valparaiso during the quarterfinals of the 2008 College Basketball Invitational on Monday.
"I want to show the student, faculty and staff that we appreciate them," said Penders who is in his fourth season at the head of the Cougar bench. "This is a simple gesture to reach out to the UH community and thank them for all their support."
The Cougars play host to Valparaiso at 8 p.m., Monday at Hofheinz Pavilion with a berth to the CBI semifinals on the line.
The first 100 UH faculty or staff members with a valid ID who visit the Athletics Ticket Office during regular business hours on Monday will receive two free tickets.
The student tickets will be given to the first 200 students with a valid ID that enter the Cullen Street entrance of Hofheinz Pavilion without a ticket.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
For Maggard, the support of Cougar fans goes far beyond screaming, red wigs and body paint during games at Hofheinz Pavilion.
"This is only a small gesture to indicate we are serious about getting this program turned around. We need the UH family at our games," Maggard said. "Supporting this program is important and if we can stimulate others to give, then all the better. Not only do we need emotional support from our fans and alums, we need financial support as well."
This is not the first time that UH coaches and administrators have donated their own money to the Cougar programs. In recent years, Penders has bought pizzas for students attending the games, and the students have responded with big and loud crowds during wins over national powers Kentucky and Arizona.
Fans can buy tickets to the game by calling 713-GO-COOGS or by visiting UHCougars.com and clicking the appropriate links. Reserved tickets are priced at $20 and general admission tickets for $15.
Both UH and Valparaiso students with valid IDs can purchase a student ticket for only $5. All student tickets for both schools must be purchased in person either at the Houston Athletics Ticket Office in advance during normal business hours or at Hofheinz Pavilion, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Monday.
Parking for Monday's quarterfinal game will be $5 for the Yellow (Robertson) Lot with a limited number of $10 spaces available in the Red (Garrison) Lot.
The Cougars come into Monday's game on the heels of an exciting 80-79 win at Nevada during the CBI First Round. In a game that featured 18 lead changes, the Cougars came out on top after junior center Marcus Cousin hit a free throw with 26.5 seconds remaining to break a 79-79 tie and the UH defense made that lead stand up.
Monday's game features two upset winners. The Cougars, who are the No. 3 seed in the West Regional, overcame the second-seeded Wolf Pack on Tuesday. Valparaiso, which was seeded No. 4, upset No. 1 seed Washington 72-71 in Seattle, Wash., on Wednesday night.