Tom Penders is out as head basketball coach at the University of Houston.
A college basketball source told me that in a meeting with UH Athletic Director Mack Rhoades today, the 64-year-old Penders was given the option of being reassigned within the athletic department, resign or be fired. Penders has chosen to resign.
A press conference has been scheduled for Monday to make the announcement.
Rhoades has hired Laurie Wilder of Parker Executive Search to reach out to potential candidates for the job. That process is currently underway. Perhaps not coincidentally, Parker Executive Search is the same firm that placed Rhoades at Houston.
Penders recently completed his sixth season as Houston coach with a 121-77 record. This year he lead the Cougars to a Conference USA conference tournament championship and a NCAA Tournament berth. Houston, appearing in the NCAA tourney for the first time in 18 years, was beaten in the first round by Maryland 89-77.
Penders is 615-411 overall as a college hoops coach. Besides Houston, Penders has served as head basketball coach at Tufts, Columbia, Forham, Rhode Island, Texas and George Washington.
A source tells me former Kentucky and Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie is considered a likely candidate for the job. Gillispie was hired by at UTEP as head basketball coach in 2002, when Rhoades was associate athletic director at the El Paso school.
Gillispie parlayed the job with the Miners into the head coaching position at Texas A&M. Following remarkable success with the Aggies, Gillispie was hired at Kentucky in 2007, lasting just two seasons in Lexington.
Other likely candidates for Houston job are Sam Houston State head coach Bobby Marlin and Texas assistant coach Rodney Terry.
I’ve also been told that Tim Floyd has made it known that he’s interested in the Houston job. Whether he’ll be considered by Rhoades isn’t known.
UPDATE: The HOUSTON CHRONICLE has confirmed the SbB report that Penders is out.