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 Thursday, April 20
McCallum replaces Drexler at Houston
 ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- Ray McCallum was hired to succeed Clyde Drexler as the University of Houston's men's basketball coach on Wednesday, as confirmed earlier in the day by ESPN.com's Andy Katz.

During seven years at Ball State, McCallum took the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament twice, including last season.

"I know we can all win, on and off the court in Houston, and I ask for the support and encouragement of a community dedicated to be one of the best programs in the nation," McCallum, 39, said in a statement.

McCallum, who was in Muncie, Ind., on Wednesday, scheduled a news conference in Houston for Thursday, to discuss his hiring. Contract details were not available Wednesday night.

McCallum has one year remaining on his contract with Ball State, although university officials said they were prepared to offer him a new, multi-year contract to remain in his hometown.

Ball State Athletic Director Andrea Seger did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment left at her home Wednesday night.

The Houston coaching job opened with Drexler's resignation March 30. Drexler had retired from an All-Star NBA career two years earlier to take over at his alma mater.

He and school officials hoped to return Houston to its basketball prominence of the early 1980s, when he and the rest of the Phi Slama Jama teams went to the Final Four three straight years.

Drexler's teams, however, went 10-17 and 9-22. He quit, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

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 coach 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 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 compiled a 127-76 mark at Ball State and had seven straight winning seasons. This past season, his team was 22-9, won the Mid American Conference title and was seeded 11th in the Midwest in the NCAA Tournament. The team lost to UCLA in a first-round game.

"Ray McCallum has the background, the enthusiasm, the expertise, the dedication, and the commitment to lead the Cougars basketball team into a new phase of glory, both on the court and in the classroom," Houston president and chancellor Arthur K. Smith said.

Drexler, selected 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.

Houston chooses Ball State coach to replace Drexler

Division I coaching changes