The Cougars have averaged only 3,178, the lowest attendance since 2003-04, the season before Penders arrived.
Although Penders is 116-75, he hasn't been able to end Houston's NCAA tournament drought that dates to 1992. For Cougar fans, many of whom remember the Phi Slama Jama days of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, making the tournament is all that matters.
Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle writes that Penders' contract suggests officials expect around 15 victories a season and not much more:
"Penders' contract calls for an $8,000 bonus for each regular-season victory from No. 15 to No. 20, $9,000 for each one above 20. Compare that to the bonuses in place for winning the regular-season C-USA title ($20,000) or the C-USA tournament ($25,000).