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Thursday, March 27, 1997

Penders will stay at Texas

By CHIP BROWN

Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Tom Penders turned down a lucrative offer today to coach basketball at Rutgers and will stay at Texas.

Penders spent Tuesday touring Rutgers with school president Francis Lawrence and was offered a financial package that could have reached nearly $700,000 a year. But Penders said his decision did not hinge on money.

"I was offered the Rutgers job," he said. "It was an offer that I wouldn't have had to work another day in my life if I had taken it. But I love the University of Texas and I'm staying."

Coach Bob Wenzel was fired almost three weeks ago after Rutgers finished its fifth straight losing season.

Penders was offered the job after Eddie Fogler rejected an offer from the New Jersey school and decided to stay at South Carolina after getting a raise.

Penders, too, will benefit from turning down Rutgers.

Penders, who makes just over $400,000 a year, is expected to get a raise that would pay him roughly $550,000 per year, according to Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds.

Penders has five years remaining on his seve-year deal.

Dodds said he was relieved by Penders' decision. "I'm happy that he's staying. I felt from the beginning that he would stay, but you're never certain until it's over. Now it's over."

Penders said a large part of his decision to stay was the recruiting class that he signed to come to Texas next year, including Chris Mihm of Austin Westlake High School. Mihm, who is 6-foot-11, is considered one of the top players in the country.

"I certainly want to bring a national championship to Texas and the young players coming into our program weighed heavily in my decision," he said.

Penders, who has been considered for other college jobs and even NBA positions, said he was impressed with Rutgers.

"I wish them well and know they are committed to winning and are a sleeping giant," Penders said. "I'm not interested in scheduling them in the near future." Send a Letter to the Editor about This Story | Start or Join A Discussion about This Story
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