Jan. 26, 2004
HOUSTON - Longtime Houston broadcaster Bill Worrell has always been generous with both his time and his money. During his lifetime, he has served as a telethon co-anchor, master of ceremonies for numerous charities and organizations and fundraiser for the Olympic Fund Drive, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and local United Negro College Fund.
As a former letterwinner for the Cougar Baseball Team, it is no surprise then that the University of Houston Athletics Department also has been a recipient of Worrell's generosity through the years.
With the kickoff of Cougar Pride, the Athletic Department's fundraising campaign, in the spring of 2003, Worrell wasted little time in donating back to the University. He immediately became a member of the Corbin J. Robertson Society for his annual contribution of more than $11,000. That cost underwrites the current cost of one full athletic scholarship, a generous donation since UH provides more than 300 student-athletes with scholarship support.
"This was just an effort to give something back to the University," Worrell said. "UH gave me an opportunity to get an education and make contacts, so this is an effort to give back."
Even if fans can't join the Robertson Society immediately, Cougar Pride offers many other benefits and opportunities at lower levels. For Worrell, it's the giving, not the amount, that is the most important thing now for the UH Athletics Department.
"For a lot of people, their first reaction is 'I can't give a lot of money, so I won't be any help.' But a little bit by everyone goes a long way," Worrell said. "Every little bit helps."
His generosity to the Cougar programs goes far beyond money. He has hosted the Bill Worrell Golf Tournament to help raise money for the Cougar Baseball program and has been a season ticket holder for years, despite a work schedule that keeps him away from home. As a color analyst for the Houston Astros on Fox Sports Net and the Voice of the Houston Rockets, Worrell spends much of his time on the road with his professional teams. However, that doesn't keep him from buying season tickets for UH games that he may not have a chance to see.
With the Cougar Football season opener against Rice on Aug. 30 quickly approaching, Worrell said he is cautiously optimistic about the team's chances in 2003. However, one thing he is certain about is new head coach Art Briles.
"Art Briles is the right man for the right job, and I'm glad he's coming back. I have faith that he will get us back in the winner's circle," Worrell said. "He has promised that the program will be competitive and graduate students, and that's what I am about."
Since finishing his Cougar playing days in 1966, Worrell has established himself as one of the area's finest broadcasters. Entering his 31st year in the Houston sports market, Worrell now works as a color analyst for the Houston Astros on Fox Sports Net. In addition, he has been the Voice of the Houston Rockets since the 1986-87 season.