BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Houston coach Tom Penders collapsed on the sideline late in the first half of the Cougars' 82-79 loss to UAB on Saturday night.
Penders, 60, was carried off the floor on a stretcher and given
oxygen, but he returned to coach in the second half. He later
attributed his fall to a heart condition and said he felt fine after taking the oxygen.
Penders fell to his knees as UAB's Wen Mukubu drove to the
basket and drew a foul with 52 seconds left in the half and UAB
leading 46-44. Officials called a technical foul on Penders,
apparently thinking he was reacting to the foul call. But the game
stopped and the crowd hushed when Penders didn't get up.
Assistant coach Melvin Haralson directed the Houston team in
Penders' absence. Penders returned to the sideline at the beginning
of the second half and led the Cougars the rest of the way.
"I have a heart condition and I've had several episodes where I
stand up too fast and get lightheaded. I did a three-mile fast
walk this morning and probably didn't get enough fluids before the game," Penders said.
Penders was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, an inflammation of the heart muscle, in 1991, and in November 1997 he had a pacemaker implanted.
The coach said he had no idea until later that he was called for a technical foul. The technical was not rescinded.
"I don't remember anything to be upset about. To get called for
a technical foul for collapsing to the floor is extremely poor
judgment on the officials part," he said.
Penders is in his second season at Houston and previously coached at George Washington, Texas and Rhode Island.
UAB defeated Houston 82-79.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.