HOUSTON (AP) -- The University of Houston went back to the college ranks to find its replacement for Clyde Drexler as the basketball coach.
Ray McCallum, who never had a losing season in seven years at Ball State, was hired Wednesday to replace Drexler, the former NBA All-Star who failed to achieve a winning record at his alma mater in his only two years as coach.
''Ray is a documented winner,'' Houston athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. ''He has taken no shortcuts in becoming an extraordinary leader in his conference and has proven on numerous occasions he can win on a national scale.''
McCallum twice took his Cardinals to the NCAA tournament, including this year. Drexler and Houston officials had hoped to match the success of Drexler the player, who was a member of two of the three famous Phi Slama Jama Houston teams that went to the NCAA Final Four in the early 1980s.
When that didn't happen, Drexler, who never had coached before taking over at Houston following his retirement from the NBA, quit March 30, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He went 10-17 and 9-22 in his two seasons.
''The successful history and tradition at the University of Houston is unparalleled, and I am honored to accept the challenge,'' McCallum said. ''I will represent the Cougars with integrity, a tireless work ethic, a commitment to education and an unmatched determination to bring a championship to Hofheinz Pavilion.''
McCallum visited Houston this week and was considered among the three finalists for the job. The two other candidates, Kent State coach Gary Waters and Appalachian State's Buzz Peterson, took themselves out of the running this week when they said they would remain at their schools.
McCallum, a 1983 graduate of Ball State, scored more than 2,100 points as a player there and is the only player in Cardinal history to have his jersey retired.
Before returning to Muncie, Ind., in 1993, he spent nine seasons as the top recruiter at both Wisconsin and Michigan.
McCallum was 127-76 at Ball State and had seven straight winning seasons. In the recently completed season, his team was 22-9, won the Mid American Conference title and a spot in the NCAA tournament, where it was seeded 11th in the Midwest before losing to UCLA in the first round.
Drexler, named one of the 50 top players in NBA history, played most of his 15-year pro career with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was traded to his hometown Houston Rockets in February 1995 and was instrumental that year in leading the Rockets to their second consecutive NBA title.
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