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UH WRAP-UP: Sumlin unveils offensive assignments

UH offensive coordinator Jason Phillips
UH offensive coordinator Jason Phillips
Photo credit: UH Athletics

After finishing the 2009 season ranked No. 1 in the country statistically, the Houston Cougars' offense doesn't need a makeover.

So it's no surprise that UH's new offensive coordinator is a familiar face: wide receivers coach Jason Phillips. Head coach Kevin Sumlin announced Monday the 2010 assignments for his staff, delegating the offensive coordinator responsibilities to Phillips.

As expected, Kliff Kingsbury was designated co-offensive coordinator.

"Continuity, especially on the offensive of the ball, was very important in all of these decisions," Sumlin said in a release. "Jason understands what we have been doing here and what we want to continue doing on the offensive side of the ball."

Phillips will take over for Dana Holgorsen, who left UH to become Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator in January. Holgorsen handled called the Cougars' offensive plays for the past two seasons.

Kingsbury served as UH's quality-control assistance in 2008 and 2009, assisting in the development of the Cougars' quarterbacks. The former Texas Tech gunslinger will take on minor, but important duties previously assigned to Phillips.

Kingsbury will handle substitutions and other miscellaneous areas of UH's offense, allowing Phillips to focus on creating game plans and variations of plays. Phillips still plans to coach outside wide receivers.

The Cougars have averaged 41.4 points and 563.1 yards per game during Sumlin's tenure. They finished second in the nation in total offense in 2008.

The promotions of Phillips and Kingsbury paved the way for more raises. Special teams coordinator Tony Levine was promoted to assistant head coach, while running backs coach Clarence McKinney will take over for Phillips as recruiting coordinator.

McKinney, a former head coach at Yates High School, guided two Cougar running backs (Bryce Beall and Charles Sims) to C-USA Freshman of the Year honors. He has also played an integral role in bringing standout talent from the Greater Houston Area, including Xavier Brown and Alton Demby, to UH.

"(McKinney) knows the city of Houston and the high school coaches very well," Sumlin said. "It is always fortunate to have guys on your staff who have the ability to assume different roles over time."

Another award for the rocket from Crockett
Courtney Taylor's trophy shelf is getting awfully crowded.

Conference USA named Taylor its co-women's basketball Player of the Week on Monday after she averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals in two games last week. UTEP's Dietra Caldwell was also honored for her performance last week.

This is the second time this season Taylor has won C-USA Player of the Week. She also claimed two of these awards in her first two seasons at UH.

Taylor put up her 35th and 36th career double-doubles last week, passing Sancho Lyttle to become the school's record holder. Taylor scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 72-53 win over Rice on Thursday. Three days later, the junior forward recorded 12 points and 10 boards in a 68-62 win over Memphis to move into the UH record books.

Taylor took the modest approach to passing a former Cougar who eventually became a WNBA All-Star.

"I don't know what to say about it," Taylor said after Sunday's game. "I'm glad I broke it and I'm pretty excited about."

Taylor ranks among C-USA's best in many categories this season, including scoring (sixth at 15.3 points per game) rebounding (second at 10.1 per game) and blocks (tied for third at 1.3 per game).

Cougars finish out-of-conference schedule against Hilltoppers 
The UH men's basketball team hopes to bounce back from a heart-breaking 57-55 loss to Southern Miss when it takes on Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bowling Green, Ky.

Torye Pelham tipped in his own missed layup just before the final buzzer sounded Saturday to lift the Golden Eagles to victory.

"You just have to move on to the next game," said forward Maurice McNeil, who has a team-high six double-doubles this season. "We don't want to look too far ahead, but we want to win all our games going into the (conference) tournament. Hopefully we can just learn from our mistakes and bring what we know to the tournament."

After opening the game on an 11-0 run, the Cougars (11-11, 4-5 Conference USA) led 29-21 at halftime. But UH couldn't hold on to the lead after sinking only 25 percent of its shot attempts in the second half. Aubrey Coleman, who scored a game-high 22 points, was the only Cougar to make a field goal during the first 13 minutes after halftime.

The Hilltoppers (13-11, 6-6 Sun Belt) are coming off an 87-69 thrashing of Troy on Saturday. They have won two of their last three games after suffering a five-game losing streak in January.

Western Kentucky has lost nine contests by 11 points or less, but they do have one quality win in a hotly contested game - a 76-69 victory over No. 24 Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

The Cougars, who have lost four of four of their last five contests, have also struggled in clutch situations. All but two of their losses this season have been decided by single-digits.

Head coach Tom Penders doesn't plan to give up on the season just because his team has been on the wrong end of close decisions.

"I'd rather be in a situation where my kids compete instead of being blown out," Penders said. "When that happens, you start to question your toughness.

"Our kids will bounce back. We'll go to Western Kentucky, and we'll play hard. They are a team a lot like us and were favored to win their conference (before the season started)."



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