UH announces men’s basketball coaching hire
Thursday marked the beginning of the James Dickey era for the UH men’s basketball program.
President Renu Khator and Athletic Director Mack Rhoades introduced Dickey as the eighth head coach in the school’s history to a crowd of UH faithful at the O’Quinn Great Hall in the UH Alumni Center.
With the 2010 Conference USA Tournament championship trophy on display in front of the podium, Khator wasted no time in letting Dickey know she expects him to improve upon last season’s performance and lead UH to consistent appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
“Winning is very important. I want you to know, coach Dickey, winning is very, very important,” Khator said.
Rhoades said the hire was based on Dickey’s leadership and recruiting abilities, and he knew the former Texas Tech head coach would not compromise his integrity and violate NCAA rules.
“This is about taking the University of Houston men’s basketball program and moving it forward. That’s an unbelievable task when you talk about the tradition we have here,” Rhoades said. “When we started this journey 10 days ago, we wanted somebody who really valued this job (and) saw it for what it was — someone with fire in their belly and would do whatever it took to get the job done. We’ve accomplished that.
“We wanted somebody that was going to come in, roll up their sleeves and get in the trenches with us — build this brick by brick, piece by piece. Most of all, we wanted a leader of men, and we have it.”
Dickey said it is imperative for UH to recruit local players, a response to a popular criticism of the basketball program’s numerous recruits who came from junior colleges and areas outside of Texas.
“We’re going to start recruiting as soon as the recruiting period opens, and our goal, first and foremost, is to recruit in Houston and the greater-Houston area. There are so many great players in this area, and it’s time for some of those guys to stay home,” Dickey said.
Dickey hopes to attract future NBA prospects but said he wants to instill a mentality of academic excellence along with athletic success.
“We want them to come here and leave with a degree. We hope we recruit some guys who are good enough to compete at the next level. If they leave early, we want them to be on track academically,” Dickey said.
Dickey’s last coaching stop was as at Oklahoma State as an assistant under Eddie Sutton. In 2004, Dickey was part of a staff that helped the Cowboys reach the Final Four.
At Texas Tech, Dickey compiled a record of 164-123 from 1991 to 2001. He led the Red Raiders to two NCAA tournament berths — in 1993 and 1996 — and was named the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1996.
An academic-related scandal create some tension in Lubbock, but Dickey was later cleared of any violations relating to the incident.
Dickey graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Harding University.