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Houston ticket sales gliding due to Clyde

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The idea of hiring Clyde Drexler as basketball coach at the University of Houston was that he could rebuild interest in his alma mater's once proud program.

It worked.Drexler has yet to coach his first game and already 16 of the 28 shiny new luxury boxes are sold out for the next three years at Hofheinz Pavilion. And most of the 8,600 available season tickets also are gone.

"We've gone to the records, and looking back at the Phi Slama Jama days, we are right there," athletic director Chet Gladchuk says. "We're down to 500 tickets and we are sold out for the season."

Drexler ended his NBA Hall of Fame career with the Houston Rockets last season and returned to the school where he was a member of the Phi Slama Jama dunking crew that went to the NCAA Final Four three straight years in the 1980s, two with Drexler on the team.

Season ticket sales started a dramatic increase March 18 when Drexler was named coach. After averaging 2,838 at 13 home games last season, the Cougars will play before virtually sold out home crowds this season.

The Cougars finished 9-20 last season under Alvin Brooks, and have a low rating in the Conference USA forecasts for this season.