D. Ryan Monceaux
So often, we as college sports fans forget about the tradition and greatness of the programs we follow. This is no more evident than right here at Houston, where we have a history rich in glory, but where no one seems to care.
Players, coaches and teams come and go, many without much fanfare. But at UH, we have been fortunate to have some of the greatest athletes in history wearing Cougar red. And yet, after they move on, whether through graduation, dropping out or moving on to the pros, we seem not to identify with them as we should: as one big Cougar family.
There may be a handful of people that know where Andre Ware is playing right now. You remember him, right? He was the guy who won the Heisman Trophy in 1989. Yeah, he went to UH ... honest. By the way, Ware is now a journeyman in the Canadian Football League. Yes, Canada has football ... honest.
Everyone knows where Hakeem and Clyde have been. However, if they were not with the Rockets, would you know? How about Bo Outlaw? Sam Mack? Carl Herrera? I didn't think so. All of these gentlemen have played for UH and in the NBA in this decade alone. And Mack and Herrera have played for the Rockets in their careers. Rumor has it that Outlaw may play for the Rockets really soon, too.
Because of his affiliation with the Astros for four horrid years, many are aware of Doug Drabek and the fact that he lives in Houston. However, he played second fiddle to our present baseball coach, Rayner Noble, on the Cougars' starting rotation in the early '80s. But you probably knew that, huh?
Steve Elkington, Fred Couples, Nick Faldo, Billy Ray Brown, Bruce Lietzke, Blaine McCallister, Fuzzy Zoeller, Rocky Thompson and Kermit Zarley are all former Cougar standouts who have won PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour events in the past four years. Yet most UH sports fans have no clue that they were Coogs. Right now, Fred Couples leads the PGA Tour money list at almost $1.5 million. This problem, not knowing "who they were then," is beginning to become an epidemic around here.
Something needs to be done so that present and former Cougars can keep up with the successes and failures of ex-UH athletes. Daily Cougar Sports should be the place where we can all keep track of our alumni who have gone on to brighter things in the pro ranks.
From this day onward, Cougar Sports will devote a weekly column to keeping tabs on who is doing what in pro sports, and what significance it bears on UH. As I write, there are Coogs playing baseball, basketball and golf and running track professionally somewhere around the world.
During the summer, "Where are they now?" will run on Wednesdays, recapping the previous week's achievements by former Cougars. During the fall, it will run on Mondays to include occurrences on the weekends. All pro ex-Houston athletes will be followed throughout their respective seasons.
Cougar Sports may not be changing the world, but keeping up with UH athletes after they leave Houston should be expected.