RS - Trey where are you from and which basketball teams did you follow in your youth?
TP - I am from Austin, Texas. I grew up watching Coach Penders' Texas Teams. I would hang around practice and that is how I got to know Coach Penders.
RS - Please give us a rundown on your career as a basketball player through high school and college?
TP - I was an All-State Point Guard at Westlake High School. I hold the All-Time Assist record that still stands. I was a three-year varsity starter and won two District Championships. I played my college ball at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. TLU is a small school that at the time was affiliated with the NAIA. I was a four-year starter and Team Captain my Junior and Senior years. My junior year we won the schools first conference championship.
RS - What are some of your finest moments as a player?
TP - I would have to say winning a conference championship was the finest moment as a player. If you don't win personal accomplishments don't mean much.
RS - At what point did you decide you wanted to be in the coaching profession?
TP - I actually have taken a different road to becoming a coach. I always wanted to be a coach since I began playing the game of basketball. I was called a coach on the floor by all of the people I played for. But, after I got my degree in business management I had the wrong mindset. I had money in mind instead of my passion for basketball. I actually started, from the ground, two businesses which I later sold. It was then that I realized that I had too strong a passion for the game of basketball, so I decided to get my Masters Degree and get back into basketball. I truly believe that if you do not love and have a passion for what you are doing you are not in the right profession.
RS - What has it be for you to have the opportunity to teach and mentor others I the game you love?
TP – I have truly been blessed to be able to work with these guys. We have a bunch of guys that want to work hard and are willing to listen and be coachable. That makes it very fun and they will find it will help in the success of the team.
RS - Please give us a rundown on the path you have taken in coaching prior to joining Tom Penders' staff.
TP - I began as an assistant at my Alma Matter, TLU. I then went to University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio as the first assistant. Those jobs were very helpful in my growing as a coach because at small schools it's basically the head coach, an assistant coach and maybe a graduate assistant. So, as the assistant you are basically responsible for every aspect of a basketball program including recruiting, scheduling, academics, fundraising, scouting opponents, game and practice plans and on floor coaching.
RS - Once joining the staff at Houston what have your job responsibilities entailed for the first two years?
TP - My first two years here at UH I have been the Director of Video Operations and Summer Basketball Camps. I have said this before and will continue to say that I feel very honored to work at an institution with such great history and for a legendary coach like Coach Penders. In this position I did a variety of things that I will not bore your readers with, but my favorite responsibility was watching and breaking down film on opponents and then doing self scouts after each of our games.
RS - What has it been like having the luxury of working with such a renowned and long-time successful coach like Tom Penders?
TP - As I have said before, it is an honor and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to work for Coach Penders. I grew up wanting to play for him, but as those who know me I'm a bit vertically challenged, so that wasn't an option. Now I've got an even better opportunity than playing for him---work for him and learn from him!!!
RS - What have you learned while working on the Houston staff, as far as coaching, practice/game preparations, recruiting and so on?
TP - I have learned a ton in these first two years. The main thing is to hold your players accountable for their actions and that every time they step on the floor they must play harder than the other team. They owe that to their teammates, the coaches and the fans. If they can take care of those things I have learned from Coach to set them free offensively. Let players be players. If they are willing to lay it on the line by diving on loose balls and taking charges then go make plays offensively. You can't handcuff players on the court.
RS - Tell us what went through your mind when you learned of your promotion to third assistant.
TP - I will continue to say it---I feel very blessed and excited for the opportunity and I have guaranteed Coach and I will to all the UH Supporters I will give you my 100% dedication and loyalty to this job. I would like to be no other place than the University of Houston!!!
RS - How will your job responsibilities change?
TP - I have a big responsibility in Academics. I take great pride in this because if these guys don't get their education we have cheated them. We want them to know that we care about them on and off the court. I will also be on the floor coaching and be responsible for opponent scouts. A coaching staff is no different than a Team. We all play roles and it is my role to support Coach Penders, Coach Lewis and Coach Haralson in things that need to get done day in and day out.
RS - Do you have any aspirations of being a head coach one day?
TP - Of course, I don't think you should be in the business if you don't want to be a head coach at some point. But that's a ways off. My main concern is helping rebuild a winning program and getting UH back into the NCAA Tourney where we belong.
RS - Heading into the third season in the Tom Penders' era, tell us where the program is now compared to the condition it was in when you first arrived?
TP- We are heading to a level all UH Supporters will be excited about. This year is going to be very fun and our team is going to be more exciting than ever, so those reading better get your season tickets now.
RS - Can you please give us a general review of our recruiting and how it has picked up each year?
TP - Each year we have been able to go after a better quality athlete and player. As everyone knows winning will do that. And now, as Coach Penders has told some, we have players knocking on our door wanting to play here.
RS - What do you look for when bringing in players to the program as a staff?
TP - The staff looks for guys with character first of all. We want great players, of course, but we also want guys that will represent UH in a 1st class manner.
RS - Please tell us what your expectations are for the 06-07 season?
TP - We are looking forward to it. Individual work-outs are going great. The guys have a work ethic that has far passed the previous 2 years. We have a very challenging schedule, but anything less than 20+ games and going to the NCAA Tournament will be a disappointment for us.
RS - Being a former point guard yourself, tell us what it means to have a senior leader like Lanny Smith running the show?
TP - I love working with Lanny. He is a great guy with great skill and is very coachable. We'll see what happens with his foot, but no matter what, we are expecting great things from him in the future.
RS - Do you ever read CoogFans.com and what are your thoughts of it as an athletic fundraiser and forum for fan interaction?
TP - Every once in a while I read it. I think it's great to have such dedicated fans and those of you that work so hard are greatly appreciated.
RS - Are there any final words you would like to say to all the Cougar fans out there?
TP - Expect great things from this program!!! Those of you haven't already, jump on board. As Coach Penders has said since he got here, we are here to win a National Championship. I end every day's personal work-out with the song "One Shining Moment", the Final Four Song, on my I-Pod. That is where our mindset is. We want all UH Alumni and supporters to be proud of their team and those who have seen us play I believe would agree that we have guys that play harder than anyone in the country.