Russ Pennell Speaker Profile
Russ Pennell Biography
Russ Pennell was born November 28, 1960 and is a basketball coach who serves as the head men's basketball coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.
Pennell was born in Pittsburg, Kansas and graduated from Pittsburg High School. He played college basketball at the University of Arkansas and at Central Arkansas, where he was two-year starter at point guard. Pennell later received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Pittsburg State University.
On May 5, 2008, Arizona head coach Lute Olson announced the hiring of Pennell as an assistant coach. Pennell became the interim head coach on October 24, when Olson announced his surprise retirement for medical reasons. As interim coach, Pennell has coached the Wildcats to an 1913 record in the regular season (99 conference). Because of Arizona's mid-season success, Pennell had been rumored as a contender for the Pac-10's Coach of the Year. Ultimately, Pennell did not win the award as Arizona slumped at the end of the regular season, but his work as Arizona's coach was enough to get Arizona into the NCAA tournament for the 25th consecutive year. Arizona advanced past the first round, where, as a 12th seed, they upset 5th seed Utah (Arizona's first first round win since 2006) and defeated 13th seed Cleveland State to move on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. However, Arizona suffered a crushing defeat against overall #1 seed Louisville, losing 10364. On April 7, Arizona signed Xavier men's basketball coach Sean Miller to a 5-year, $11-million contract, ending Pennell's tenure with the Wildcats.
On April 9, 2009, Pennell was hired as head coach of the men's basketball team at Division II Grand Canyon University, a member of the Pacific West Conference
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