Dusty Vandenberg: UH’s success goes way beyond the players and coaches

Houston Cougars athletics director Chris Pezman speaks to reporters on Sept. 8 following of naming rights extension for TDECU Stadium. (Andy Yanez/Gallery Sports)

Dusty Vandenberg: UH’s success goes way beyond the players and coaches

Coaches Win Games. Administrations win championships.

Kelvin Sampson said that back in 2019 after his first conference championship at UH.

The Cougars have won the conference regular season title four of the last five years, and the only year they didn’t, 2021, they won the conference tournament championship and advanced to the Final Four.

As I stood on the court during the celebration, I took a moment to take it all in and think of all the people who made it possible. Yes, of course the Houston Cougars have a very talented team. Marcus Sasser and Jarace Walker will be on NBA teams next year, and the UH roster is filled with stars.

The administration and their vision helped to make it possible. Renu Khator took over the role of President of a school most called a commuter school and turned it into a residential campus to the point where Texas A&M is the only Texas school with more students living on campus than UH.

I saw many of those students celebrating on the court next to the team, students who overwhelmingly voted yes to a 35-dollar increase in the student fees to pay for a new football and basketball facility. I saw Kelvin Sampson taking pictures with members of the Cougar brass, who bring the noise to every game. I saw cheerleaders and Cougar Dolls lining the key as the Coogs cut down the net.

I congratulated AD Chris Pezman and thought of his predecessors, Mack Rhoades and Hunter Yuracheck.

And the man whose name is on the building – Tilman Fertitta – whose gift gave UH, according to many, the best home court in college basketball.

So yeah, there’s still only five on the court, but that championship belongs to H-town. After all, the Coogs do it all for the city.

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