He was the head coach of the Houston Cougars this past season and Houston made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament before losing vs. the online gambling odds in the first round to Maryland. Penders resigned as head coach of Houston on Monday, ending a six-year run with the Cougars.
Internet gambling companies could end up seeing Penders with another team in the future although that is unclear at the present time. Houston made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992 this season. Penders led the team to a Conference USA Championship and the automatic tourney berth. Houston was really caught off guard by the resignation of Penders. “He certainly initiated the opportunity to resign. We will work with Tom to negotiate a fair exit. That's what he deserves.” Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades said.
Penders is a familiar name to Internet gambling companies since he has won 648 games in his career. He led George Washington, Rhode Island and Texas to the NCAA Tournament in the past. “I came to the University of Houston in 2004 with the goal of getting UH back to the NCAA tournament," Penders said, "We achieved this goal and now it is time for me to move on." Houston was a contender with Penders at the helm. He went 121-77 at Houston.
Penders has been known as a coach that turns around struggling teams and he sure did that with Houston. He had done it in the past at Columbia, Fordham and Rhode Island. "We'll go down in history as the team that brought UH back to national prominence, and I'm so proud of my players and staff," Penders said.
Houston is not considered a power team in college basketball so what Penders did was special. “This was different," he said. "This was a challenge, a real challenge because of some of the things that we don't have. But I love challenges."
Houston was not expected to make the NCAA Tournament this online gambling season but Penders found a way. "Tom did a great job," Rhoades said. "This is a hard job because there are a lot of things that other schools have that you don't. He did a terrific job of moving that needle forward and now it's my job, our job with the next head coach to move that even further."