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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Dominant, decorated UH coaches span decades

We have a dynasty. UH has been blessed with our fair share of rulers at the helm who have led their respective teams to prized victory after victory.

The men’s golf program’s reign spanned 29 years (1956-1985) and included 44 All-Americans such as Fred Couples, Steve Elkington and John Mahaffey.

The king on the throne for these successes was coach Dave Williams who helped the Cougars amass 16 team national championships and establish UH as the premier institution for collegiate golf. Williams was known for both his ability to recruit and his staunch enthusiasm for the University.

Likewise, an eerily similar run of dominance was underway at Hofheinz Pavillion from the mid-50s to mid-80s. The Cougars men’s basketball program, under the direction of UH great Guy Lewis, made ten trips to the Sweet Sixteen, five of which resulted in trips to the Final Four and two to the NCAA Championship game.

In ‘95, the University of Houston named its court at Hofheinz after Lewis. A little over one decade later, he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

It would also be unfair not to mention the dominant years on the gridiron behind College Football Hall of Famer Bill Yeoman, who guided to Cougars to four Southwest Conference Championships between 1976 and 1984 along with two Cotton Bowl victories.

Fast-forward to present-day Cullen Boulevard and what you’ll find is a new leader of the reigns with accolades equally as admirable as those of Williams, Lewis and Yeoman.

You may not know his name, but following his 14th year at UH, track and field coach Leroy Burrell has made a name for himself as one of the country’s premier coaches.

Over his nearly decade and a half at the helm, the Coogs have stockpiled 19 Conference USA Team Championships, the most recent coming less than one month ago.

Like Williams, Lewis and Yeoman, Burrell is also a hall-of-famer as he was enshrined in the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Since taking over for the 1998-1999 academic year, he has held the title of C-USA Coach of the Year 16 times, leading Houston to national prominence.

Since December, Athletic Director Mack Rhoades has named new head coaches in football, volleyball and soccer.

With any luck, the newest successors of the throne will have the same success building their program the way Williams, Lewis, Yeoman and Burrell did.

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