Tom Penders To Be Inducted Into National Collegiate Basketball Hall Of Fame
UConn Athletic Communications / Nov. 29, 2020
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --- Tom Penders, who played on some of the finest UConn basketball teams of the 1960s before going on to a long and successful college coaching career, has been named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction class of 2020.
Penders, who will be inducted in as a coach, becomes the first UConn graduate to earn induction to the Collegiate Hall of Fame. UConn coach Jim Calhoun was inducted as part of the initial Class of 2006.
Penders, a Stratford native who also starred for the UConn baseball team, played at UConn in an era when freshmen were ineligible. He played three years under coach Fred Shabel from 1964-67, averaging 8.6 points per game as UConn had a combined record of 56-18, earned three Yankee Conference championships, and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
It was as a coach, however, that Penders made his mark on the college basketball world.
Beginning his head coaching career at Tufts in 1971, Penders coached seven different programs over a span of 39 years – Tufts, Columbia, Fordham, Rhode Island, Texas, George Washington, and Houston. His overall record was 649-437, with a 12-11 mark in the NCAA Tournament. In 1987 while coaching Rhode Island, he was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year.
Penders’ NCAA teams lost only once to a lower seed, and that was a No. 8 vs. No. 9 game in 1992. His 1988 Rhode Island team was the first A-10 team to reach the Sweet 16. He guided Texas to its first Sweet 16 and Elite 8 appearances in 1990.
The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame is located in Kansas City, Mo. Because of the current pandemic situation, the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will be inducted together next year.