Clyde Drexler is poised to take the next step, back to where he started.
Drexler, who joined Hakeem Olajuwon to star on two of the University of Houston's Final Four teams of the 1980s, will retire from the NBA after this season to coach his alma mater, sources told the Associated Press on Tuesday night."Coaching is like a natural progression for a player," Drexler said after his 15 points and nine assists in a 96-91 victory over Milwaukee.
"It's like an actor wants to direct after your career is over. I hate to be presumptuous, but I think I know the game pretty well."
Drexler, a likely Hall of Famer, will receive a four-year contract worth $1.2 million. Also, Reid Gettys, David Rose and George Walker will become assistant coaches. All are former Houston players under long-time coach Guy Lewis.
"I've been a student of the game, and I went from playing under one legend in college (Lewis) straight to another legend (Jack Ramsay) with the Portland Trail Blazers," Drexler said.
"I would think I'd have all the essentials you need to be a coach after that."
And, if his former coaches should fail him, Drexler can always rely on his current coach, Rudy Tomjanovich.
"I wish him a lot of luck and also, I told him if he ever wants to make a late-night phone call, do it. I'll be up, too."
Tomjanovich might be losing one of his best players, but he likes the story line.
"This is kind of like a storybook situation," Tomjanovich said. "It's a guy who had a great career at the University of Houston, then he had a great pro career and he comes back and wins the championship, and then he takes over at his alma mater.
"If you had a movie script like that, they'd say no one would believe it."
Sources close to the Cougars, who spoke on the condition they not be identified, confirmed Drex-ler is the school's next coach, replacing the fired Alvin Brooks.
Drexler seemed to enjoy the intrigue.
"Very soon, I expect an announcement; we just want to maintain the rich tradition that Guy V. started and get the university back to the level of competition it needs to be at," Drexler said.
Drexler's mother, Eunice Drexler, watched her son play against the Bucks but declined to confirm the move. However, she said, "I'm going to miss him out here, but I'm going to support his decision."
Asked if she'd support her son at Hofheinz Pavilion (the Cougars' home court) she said: "You bet I will."
Cougars spokeswoman Donna Turner said as of Tuesday evening a news conference had not been scheduled, but, "When we are ready to announce something, we will shout it out. We are not ready yet."