According to ESPN,
former Heel Buzz Peterson is going to take over at Houston. Now that's an
interesting move, and, we might add, one with some imagination on both
parts.Â Houston has been a basketball school for a long time even though
lately they've struggled.Â Â Â They still have an enormous
tradition, probably the equal of nearly any school west of the Mississippi.
Most of that was under Guy Lewis, though, who had the traditional, wide
openÂ style practiced by so many schools from his neck of the woods.Â
His three most memorable moments were the upset of Alcindor's UCLA team, the
subsequent destruction in the Final Four ("we wanted to teach them some
manners," Kareem said), and of course the still unbelievable loss to NC
State and Jim Valvano in 1983.
Peterson of course was an assistant at State under Les Robinson, a fact which
mightily irritated some State fans, a level of irritation which probably wasn't
reached again until they ran Mike O' Cain off and then protested when he found
work in Chapel Hill.
For Houston, which has tried various coaches since Lewis retired, including
Pat Foster and Clyde Drexler, it's a different kind of a coach,Â from a
vastly different tradition, and that takes some nerve, because the image of
Houston basketball is carried by Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Benny "we
took em to the rack and stuck em" Anders (during the terrifying aerial
assault against Louisville, Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma was so explosive that the
Louisville bench was sneaking peeks at the replays on the tv monitors
For Buzz Peterson, it's an act of imagination because he is deeply wedded to
the ACC geographical region, and to the UNC way of doing things. He'll be
stepping into football country, but the only two exceptions, until pretty
recently, to the Texas mania for daggum football have been UTEP, remote geographically and culturally, and Houston
But Guy Lewis is long gone and the Southwest conference is, too. Clyde
Drexler only won eight games last season and packed it in.
Houston, however, ended up in C-USA after the Southwest Diaspora, and that's
a pretty fair conference about to get a lot better now that Calipari has signed
up at Memphis and Peterson at Houston.Â But they also have Cincinnati, a
regular season Titan, Louisville, a powerful program for decades, Marquette, St.
Louis, UNCC, Tulane, South Florida, Southern Miss, UA-Birmingham, and of course
Memphis and Houston.
Peterson will thus go nose to nose with Huggins, Denny Crum,Â a rising
Seth Greenberg at USF, and Murray Bartow at UAB, who isn't bad.
This is potentially a great job for him, and if he can make Houston a power -
and we're pretty sure he will - he can have any job in the country in five