Alvin Brooks took the head coaching position in
April. There was an extensive search to fill the
spot vacated by Pat Foster. Brooks inadvertently
entered into controversy when a regent claimed
that Brooks wasn't being paid as much as Foster
because he was black, not that he was a first-time
coach. A package raising Brooks' pay was created,
and it drew fire from faculty members, who wanted
a raise for themselves. We didn't know how it
would all sort out, but there was obviously going
to be pressure for Brooks to have a quality first
season. Photo by Stephen Stelmak. (center)
Another nasty dunk from Charles "Bo" Outlaw.
Outlaw held the team's best field goal percentage
at 65.8 percent. Coach Brooks will have to work
hard to recruit more impact players like Outlaw.
Photo by Thomas Nguyen, (lower left)
.Here's something you may not see much more of.
Coach Brooks would probably not recruit from
South America for players like David Diaz, who
was from Venezuela. He hoped to find talent here
in Houston and the surrounding area. Photo by
Thomas Nguyen, (lower right)
A group of teenage boys
in beat-up Converse
iennis shoes spentmany
awinternightin wide-eyed wonder watching the Cougars play
basketball on the hardwood floor
of Hofheinz Pavilion.
Among that group there
was one boy, an athlete himself,
who always remembered the
flashes of red speeding up and
down the court and the sound
of the cheering crowd.
Now, Alvin Brooks, the
man, was the head coach of the
basketball team he admired in
Brooks was a hometown
product, born and raised in the
policy here, and while it is still
professional, we want to stress
and improve the graduation rate
and be here for the student-athletes," he said.
Brooks was not limiting
his influence to the classroom
alone. He wanted to shake up the
style of play on the court, too.
"We relied on match-up
zone last season," Brooks said.
"In the future, we will play more
man-to-man and set up zone traps
on full court. Offensively, we
average 82 points a game, so we
will concentrate on our defense.''
Brooks was also working on completing his staff.
"I want people on my
Brooks knew a good
thing when he saw it, having
been involved in basketball since
high school. He played at Lamar,
where he established school
records for the most assists in a
game. He then moved onto an
assistant coaching position under Pat Foster at Lamar University.
Brooks followed Foster
to UH after that, and the rest was
Brooks' migration to the
basketball court was slightly diverted by stint with a bat and a
The baseball diamond,
not the basketball court, proved
New coach wants to bridge UH, community
Fifth Ward and a graduate of
Wheatley High School.
"When I was a student at
Wheatley, we perceived the University of Houston as agreat institution with strong athletics and
academics," Brooks said.
Brooks' connection with
the city of Houston and the Fifth
Ward heightened his commitment to the community he grew
"Since I have been
named to the coaching position
there have been a lot of phone
calls and letters for me. I feel like
there has been a great support. I
the gap between the school and
the community," Brooks said.
When Brooks was
named to the coaching position,
replacing Pat Foster, he set a list
of goals to fulfill. He wanted to
change the approach to the student-athletes, giving them room
to be strong academically as well
"We have an open door
staff who care about the student-
said. "One of the guys that I have
talked to is Otis Birdsong. He
could bring a lot to our staff."
Assistant Athletic Director Bill McGillis, who was instrumental in naming Brooks to the
position, said Brooks was the
"Alvin Brooks is the best
person to fit the criteria that we
had set," McGillis said. "His
relationship with the community is important."
Well aware of the image
problem that existed in and
around the SWC Brooks said
there were steps that could be
taken to improve the situation.
"We beat Louisville on
national television this past season, and Texas Tech beat Tulane
lastyear," Brookssaid. "Ifwecan
play high-ranked teams on our
turf, we have a better chance."
"We have a marketable
product here that we can get on
television," he said.
to be Brooks' initial playing
"Baseball was my first
love. I played second base and
would probably still be playing
today. I just grew up in the wrong
Thanks to Brooks' aunt,
Janice, his athletic inclinations were directed to the basketball hoop instead.
"My aunt gave me an
old pair of her Converse tennis shoes that I grew into. I
have been playing basketball
ever since," he said.
The youngest of three
children, Brooks had two
older sisters and a family full
of strong teaching examples.
From his early days as
an avid Cougar fan to his
present job as the coach, he
continued to apply his own
philosophy to life.
"I always want to be
better today than yesterday,
and better tomorrow than I
was today." -Heather Ellis