When the 2019-2020 University of Houston Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams took the floor in early November to open their season, they did so on a new court of beautiful blonde oak.
The Penick Court was dedicated in early October with the Penick family, Houston head coaches Kelvin Sampson and Ron Hughey, and the coaching and support staff members of both teams in attendance.
“We have had a lot of great memories in this building over the years with Phi Slama Jama, concerts and many other events. There were so many people who were committed to remodeling the arena between Tilman Fertitta, Renu Khator, Chris Pezman and various alumni, just to name a few,” said Rusty Penick, who is a 1978 UH graduate. He and his wife, Tricia, are among the biggest supporters of the Cougar Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. “We felt called to support this project and make an impact ourselves.”
A year ago, more than 100,000 fans poured into the newly renovated state-of-the-art Fertitta Center during the first season.
Half my family has graduated from UH. We spent almost every game here watching Phi Slama Jama; just a lot of great memories. It means a lot, my family is represented, my brother [Jackson (‘68)] is looking down and, no doubt, likes what he sees.”
Left to right: UHS Chancellor Renu Khator, UH Athletics Director Chris Pezman, Rusty and Tricia Penick and Penick Family members, UH Men’s Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, and UH Women’s Head Coach Ron Hughey
Rusty and Tricia Penick and grandson
When Coach Sampson committed to making Houston his home, we decided it was time for us to do our part. We are just fortunate that we are in a position to help,” said Rusty Penick, who is the co-founding partner and former CEO of Maintenance Supply Headquarters. “The Fertitta Center is one of the elite basketball arenas in the country and one in which all Cougars should be very proud.”
The gift that creates Penick Court is a part of the University’s “Here, We Go” capital campaign. UH eclipsed its original goal by raising more than $1 billion, 18 months ahead of schedule. The campaign will conclude in 2020, but the momentum continues.
“UH’s world-class athletics facilities wouldn’t even be possible without this kind of support,” vice president for athletics Chris Pezman said. “We are grateful for the Penicks’ generosity and proud to have the court named for two of our biggest fans and most ardent supporters.”
Penick Court at the Fertitta Center