The UCA men's head basketball coach Russ Pennell said Tuesday that he will not be returning as the coach.
Associate Head Coach Anthony Boone, who has been serving as the men's basketball coach since Pennell announced Dec. 16 that he would be taking a leave of absence for personal reasons, will remain the interim head coach for the rest of the season.
Director of Athletics Brad Teague, who hired Pennell in March 2014, said to UCA Sports that Pennell "positively changed the culture of our men's basketball program" and he wishes him "great success as he pursues new endeavors."
"After much consideration, thought and prayer, I am announcing I will not return to UCA and resume coaching," Pennell said in a statement. "It is time for me and my family to move forward and pursue some new challenges. We look forward to the future and what God has in store for us."
The statements below were previously published on ucanews.live
UCA men’s basketball Head Coach Russ Pennell is on an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons according to a statement on ucasports.com released Dec. 16, 2019.
UCA Athletic Director Brad Teague confirmed that Pennell remains the head coach of the men’s team even in his leave of absence.
The school named assistant head coach Anthony Boone as interim head coach in Pennell’s absence.
“The guys have been great,” Boone said. “I am very fortunate [the players] are working so hard [and] that all the staff is working really hard, and trying to make something positive out of a tough situation.”
The upperclassmen have assumed more responsibility in Pennell’s absence.
“We’ve had a couple of team meetings just players only,” junior center Hayden Koval said. “We’ve taken a lot of ownership in practice saying that we need to come together.”
The team's only senior forward Aaron Weidenaar said his role has also changed in Pennell’s absence.
“I’m using my past experience to help guys,” Weidenaar said. “Whether that’s ball screens or various technical things on the court or help motivate guys whatever the team needs I’ll do it.”
It is unknown when Pennell will return.
The Bears are 2-0 in conference play under Boone with wins of the University of Incarnate Word and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The Bear’s next conference game will be against Mcneese Statein the Farris Center Jan. 4, 2020. Coach Boone will be the interim head coach for that game.