The University of Houston Magazine

Rhoades Hires Proven Leaders to Head Men’s, Women’s Basketball Programs

by Richard Bonnin

James Dickey

Bill Bradley, National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Fame basketball player and former U.S. senator, once said, “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”

In naming new head coaches for the men’s and women’s basketball programs, Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades brings to campus two leaders who perfectly fit that description.

A veteran of multiple NCAA Tournaments, James Dickey was introduced April 1 as the University of Houston men’s basketball head coach.

Dickey became the eighth coach in the history of the Houston program. As a head coach at Texas Tech for 10 years and in a 17-year career as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Central Arkansas and Harding College, he mentored more than 20 players who played in the NBA and earned six conference or district Coach of the Year awards.

Under his guidance, Texas Tech captured three regular-season or tournament championships, including a sweep of both titles in 1996.

“Winning basketball programs, with first-class student-athletes on and off the court, have followed James throughout his career, and that is certainly no coincidence,” Rhoades says. “He is an exceptional leader and mentor of young men. We are excited to have James lead our basketball program.”

Dickey follows Tom Penders, who resigned after six years at the helm of the Cougar bench.

Rhoades also named Todd Buchanan as women’s basketball head coach. Buchanan completed a successful five-year run as the head coach at Houston Baptist, following a stint as the top assistant on the Cougar sideline.

“I became more and more impressed with Todd’s abilities as a coach and as a great mentor for student-athletes,” Rhoades says of the search to replace Joe Curl, who stepped down as head coach after leading the program to the postseason for the eighth time in school history. “Todd’s familiarity with the program and the respect he has earned from coaches around the city of Houston and in AAU circles are great advantages for our program.”

As the new basketball coaches prep for next year, Cougar fans are looking forward to the upcoming football season. Football is king in Texas, and UH did more than its share to add jewels to the crown. Head coach Kevin Sumlin lined up 26 commitments for 2010. The Cougars return three starting wide receivers, their starting running back and four of five offensive linemen. The 2010 season begins Sept. 4 at Robertson Stadium, as the Cougars host Texas State.

A Case for Heisman 2010

by Richard Bonnin

Case Keenum Quarterback Case Keenum, an unsung Heisman Trophy contender in 2009, had a spectacular season that resulted in an eighth-place finish in the race for college football’s most prestigious individual honor.

Keenum, a senior kinesiology major, had Cougar fans in suspense when he announced near the end of his junior year that he would explore entering the NFL draft. In mid-January, however, Keenum confirmed that he will return to the Cougars in 2010.

“I feel this is a very special group of guys, and we have a lot of chemistry and history together,” he says. “When you have a team like this, it’s your family, and you want to stay together as long as you can.

“We have a chance to do something special this season. I want to win a conference championship, win another bowl game and take a shot at the BCS.”

In 2009, Keenum was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, Manning Award and the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year. Keenum won the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation’s top passing quarterback.