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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pennell the Philosopher

    INDIANAPOLIS – With the circumstances that Russ Pennell face, where each game could be his last, it’s the approach the UA interim head coach takes that could contribute to his success.

    Arizona faced two similarly season-devastating instances this season – points where the Wildcats could’ve conceded and packed their bags for the 2009-10 season.

    • Trailing Houston at halftime, the UA – 11-8 at the time – would’ve suffered a monumental blow in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee. The loss, which would’ve been considered a “”bad loss,”” would’ve dropped Arizona to 11-9 and free falling heading into the heart of the Pacific 10 Conference schedule.

  • Many looked at the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament as a win-or-go-home-to-the-NIT-Tournament scenario, as the Wildcats rode the NCAA Tournament bubble that entire weekend heading into Selection Sunday.
  • Through the ups and downs, Pennell has taken a one-day-at-a-time approach not only to the season, but his job security.

    Instead of trying to prove himself as a worthy candidate for Olson’s permanent successor, in which UA athletic director Jim Livengood has stated he wants a big-name coach, Pennell takes a realistic stance publicly.

    A lot of times, the philosophy that guides his religious faith intertwines with his current situation.

    “”I believe there’s a purpose in life, for everyone’s life. And my appointed time is to be the coach of the Arizona Wildcats,”” Pennell said during Thursday’s press conference in Indianapolis. “”Even if that’s for a brief time. So the opportunity I’ve had, I’ve tried to make the best of it and do the best for the people that are underneath me.””

    As for his future job or employer, Pennell said those will come to him.

    “”My whole thing is this: I really could care less who gets the credit for what we do as long as we’re successful,”” Pennell said. “”I see in this business, a lot of times people’s egos destroy them. I always thought to myself if I had this opportunity at whatever level, as an assistant coach for 15 years, which I was, I appreciated the people I worked under, that they gave me a lot of responsibility.

    “”And for that, you know, I’ll forever be indebted because I think (this experience) made me a better coach and a better person,”” Pennell added. “”If this is the only opportunity, so be it. Life goes on.””

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