Aug. 17, 2010
HOUSTON - The Houston Cougar faithful grasped the chance to see the crew of head coaches one last time at the final stop of the Coaches Road Tour Tuesday.
The Skeeter's Mesquite Grill Town & Country location filled quickly as fans gathered to listen to the coaches on Tuesday's agenda. Local radio personality Matt Jackson kicked off the evening with another round of Cougar sports trivia before introducing the night's speakers.
Making her first stop on the tour, head softball coach Kyla Holas was the first to address the crowd. The fans in attendance responded with several questions regarding the Cougars' pitching staff, returning players and her new recruits. Holas also gave insight into her coaching philosophy, focused primarily on her team's constant focus on conference championships as well as her attention to details.
"I whole-heartedly believe that details are what separate All-Americans from everyone else," Holas said.
Fresh from signing his contract extension, head track and field coach Leroy Burrell took the Skeeter's stage to discuss his upcoming goals for both the men's and women's teams. After taking time to give props to coach Holas for building the UH softball program from its infancy to its current success, Burrell thanked his own coaching staff for making his life easier with their never-ending support.
"And if ever you're walking by the Yeoman Fieldhouse and see lots of student-athletes running in and out - there's a track meet going on in there and we'd love it if you came on in," Burrell said with a smile.
Darren Dunn, Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Relations, filled in for Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades, who was unable to attend, by answering various questions from fans. Assistant Athletics Director for Development James Nicas updated the crowd on upcoming events before making way for new head women's basketball coach Todd Buchanan.
Buchanan also seized the opportunity to thank his staff before going into details about his team's upcoming schedule.
"We've got Georgetown on Dec. 28," Buchanan said. "I know that's right after Christmas - but we need you guys. We need Hofheinz to be full and give ourselves a home court advantage against them."
Highlighted by his desire to win the Conference USA regular title, Buchanan shared his goals and his enthusiasm for the entire athletic department. He concluded with a prediction of each team having a special year ahead.
Head men's basketball coach James Dickey wrapped up the evening by explaining his appreciation and importance of the fans' support as he opted to stand on the floor near the fans rather than the provided stage.
"If we can get people excited and win games then we're going to have a lot of fun, but we need you in the stands to get there," Dickey said. "Then, when we get those new renovations we'll know that it was us together that made it happen."
Dickey then asked for suggestions from his "unpaid assistants" and the fans were eager to help. The new coach answered several questions while thanking the crowd for each valid point.
"I'm getting a lot of good coaching tips tonight," Dickey said. "This is a heck of a deal."
Tuesday night concluded the Coaches Road Tour, which consisted of coaches from each program speaking to Cougar fans during each the six tour events this summer. Several members of the department were joined by their families for the finale, and each were warmly received and applauded by those in attendance.