Houston Has Successful Season Despite Probation
HOUSTON (AP) _ University of Houston athletic department employees answer their telephones with ″Houston Cougar Proud.″
″Now people know why,″ Athletic Director Rudy Davalos says, basking in back-to-back 9-2 seasons and Andre Ware’s Heisman Trophy.
Ware holds 16 NCAA records following a season that ended with his selection Dec. 2 as the 1989 Heisman winner.
The timing of Ware’s selection couldn’t have come at a more beneficial time in the Cougars’ rebound from financial depths.
″I can’t think of another program where the timing could help more,″ Davalos said. ″We’ve had a couple of 9-2 seasons and Top 20 rankings, but this is the sweetest thing.
″It shows people that what we’re doing here is right, and I think Andre Ware exemplifies that.″
Ware never allowed pursuit of the trophy to become an individual matter.
With the school on NCAA probation and unable to appear on television or accept a bowl invitation, the run for the Heisman became a team goal.
″There’s no more Cougar High, we are back and we are back on track,″ Ware rapped moments after winning the honor.
Ware has promised Davalos he’ll pass up the riches of the NFL to return for his senior season, adding further glitter to the Cougars’ future.
″I think people will be excited about seeing the run-and-shoot and seeing Andre Ware trigger it,″ Davalos said. ″It’s got to help our recruiting, our image.
″This is a thing that comes along to an institution maybe once in a lifetime.″
The Cougars closed out their third season under coach Jack Pardee on Dec. 2 with a 64-0 victory over Rice.
In addition to Ware’s record performance, junior wide receiver Manny Hazard broke the 24-year-old, single-season receiving record of 134 by Tulsa’s Howard Twilley.
Hazard caught 14 passes for 155 yards against Rice, giving him 142 for the year, for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Ware and Hazard were the major individual record-setters in 1989, but the Cougars’ offensive depth chart won’t be bare in 1990.
Houston loses four offensive starters: center Byron Forsythe; right tackle Joey Banes and receivers Kimble Anders and Paul Smith.
Crowd-pleasing Chuck Weatherspoon is a junior who showed his versatility throughout the season as a tackle-breaking runner and a good receiver.
Weatherspoon was the No. 2 rusher in the Southwest Conference with 1,146 yards on 119 carries. He was fifth in receiving with 58 catches.
Houston finished the season as the national leader in total offense (624.9 yards per game), scoring offense (53.5) and passing offense (511).
Ware led the nation in total offense with 423.7 yards per game and Hazard led the nation’s receivers.
Hazard and sophomore kicker Roman Anderson finished second and third in the nation in scoring.
A major overhaul faces the defense, where seven starters have completed their eligibility.
The new defense will be built around Cornelius Price, who set a SWC record with 12 interceptions this season, and linebacker Lamar Lathon, who sat out the season with injuries and likely will return.
Price intercepted two passes in the season finale to tie for the national lead in interceptions.
Pardee is looking forward to recruiting with such positive ammunition.
″Instead of Cougar High, it’s Cougar Heisman,″ Pardee said. ″The SWC is back and we’ve got the top player in the country.
″Everybody that’s been beating up on the SWC for years now can get off our backs. We’re (SWC) here and the Houston Cougars are a prominent part of that.″
Davalos is convinced Ware will be on campus to get his degree in December 1990, following another successful football season.
″He’s more of a Roger Staubach or a David Robinson,″ Davalos said. ″Football is not going to be the only thing in this young man’s life.
″Many Heisman winners have only that avenue to success. That’s not true of Andre. Football will merely open doors for him.″
END ADV for Weekend Release Dec. 09-10