Russ Pennell Hired as Grand Canyon University Head Coach
Opportunity to revive and lead promising program at crux of decision
"GCU has had a strong record of success in the past and Russ is the right person to take our basketball program to the next level," said GCU CEO
Pennell is a familiar face in
"I've been saying all along that I want to coach college basketball, I want something I can be passionate about, and something I can believe in - and growing this program and staying in
With basketball as one of its signature sports, GCU leadership is thrilled with Pennell's addition to their coaching staff.
"We can offer things that are important to Russ - security for his family, a chance to build a program and work with kids in a small setting at the only traditional, private university in
GCU anticipates that Pennell will help significantly with its recruiting efforts, and has plans to build a state-of-the-art sports arena on its 95-plus acres to support its growing roster of NCAA Division II athletic programs.
"We have ambitious plans to excel in all areas - academics, fine arts and athletics - and the addition of Russ will undoubtedly help us build an enviable basketball program and enhance all other areas of athletics," Mueller said.
Pennell will be GCU's 12th coach since the program started in 1949. The GCU program has won three NAIA national championships.
Before joining the U of A coaching staff as an assistant under Hall of Famer Lute Olson, Pennell was head of the
Pennell has a degree in physical education from
Pennell is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and is extremely active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He and his wife, Julie, were married in 1986 and have two daughters.
About Grand Canyon University
Founded in 1949,