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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Fertitta Center Court to be Named after Penick Family

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POSTED: October 7, 2019 -- 5:33 p.m. CT

When the 2019-20 University of Houston Men's and Women's Basketball teams take the floor in early November to open competition inside the Fertitta Center, the Cougars will do so on a new court.

Thanks to a generous donation from longtime Houston Athletics supporters Richard "Rusty" and Patricia "Tricia" Penick, the Fertitta Center playing surface has been renamed the Penick Court ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The Penick Court was dedicated Monday afternoon with the Penick family, Houston head coaches Kelvin Sampson and Ron Hughey, and coaching and support staff members from both teams in attendance.

"We have had a lot of great memories in this building over the years with Phi Slama Jama, concerts and many other events. There were so many people who were committed to remodeling the arena between Tilman Fertitta, Dr. Renu Khator, Chris Pezman and various alumni just to name a few," said Rusty Penick, who is a 1978 UH graduate. "We felt called to support this project and make an impact ourselves."

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The gift that creates Penick Court is a part of the University's "Here, We Go" capital campaign. UH eclipsed its original goal by raising more than $1 billion 18 months ahead of schedule. The campaign will conclude in 2020, but the momentum continues.

"UH's world-class athletics facilities wouldn't even be possible without this kind of support," Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman said. "We are grateful for the Penicks' generosity and proud to have the court named for two of our biggest fans and most ardent supporters."

The Men's team opens its 2019-20 season when it faces Angelo State at 5 p.m., Saturday, November 9, in an exhibition game inside the Fertitta Center. Prior to that game, Houston Women's Basketball takes on Southeastern Louisiana in an exhibition game at 1 p.m., November 9.

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