Tudor FieldhouseWhile the bricks and mortar which have framed the home of Rice basketball for better than 50 years remain, the interior of the fabled arena was transformed into a state-of-the-art facility with the amenities fans have come to expect from new stadiums during a foundation-to-roof renovation which occurred between the spring of 2007 and the fall of 2008 leading up to the opening of the new Tudor Fieldhouse complex.
Scott Pera with former player and good friend James Harden
Scott Pera has been named the 25th head coach in Rice men’s basketball history, Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced on March 23, 2017.
Pera has spent the last three years as the Owls Associate Head Coach. He has served a large role in recruiting and game preparation. He helped the Owls to victories over New Mexico, UAB, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Louisiana Tech.
This past year, he helped Rice to a 23-12 record, the second-most wins in school history and just the eighth 20 win season, while advancing to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational. He helped oversee a squad that set school records for points, field goals, three-point field goals, free throws and rebounds.
Prior to joining the Owls, Pera spent two seasons at Penn, where he saw the squad lead the Ivy League in assists in 2013-14 after ranking second in the league in assists and tops in field goal percentage defense the season before. He was named the top assistant in the Ivy League and No. 19 nationally among low-to-mid-major programs by Basketball Times in 2013 and’14.
Chris Kreider enters his first season as assistant coach on the Rice men’s basketball staff.
Kreider brings 12 years of coaching experience to South Main. He joins the Owls after spending the past two years as an assistant at VMI. Prior to VMI, he served as an assistant coach at George Mason from 2011-15. While at George Mason, he helped the Patriots to a pair of 20-win seasons, including a spot in the championship series of the College Basketball Invitational.
Kreider also spent time on the staffs at Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. A starter at small forward for three colleges, Kreider played for one year at Mansfield University before transferring to Grove City College (Pa.). In his junior season, Kreider led the Wolverines in scoring (12.3 ppg) and steals (52). He finished his playing and academic career at Lebanon Valley College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish in 2003.
Mark Linebaugh is in his first season as assistant coach with the Rice basketball team. Linebauch came to South Main following three seasons at Hobart College.
In his first season at Hobart, Linebaugh helped the Statesmen to an 18-8 record, the sixth most wins in a season for Hobart. Despite graduating the 2013-14 National Player of the Year (Richie Bonney) and the two-time Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year (Joe Gibbons), the Statesmen went 13-3 in Liberty League play and finished second in the regular season standings.
The following season, Hobart welcomed the top recruiting class in the Liberty League to campus. The Statesmen finished tied for fourth in the league standings and were the only team to place two players on the Liberty League All-Rookie Team (Colin Dougherty, Jamal Lucas).
Former Owl Omar Mance is in his second stint as assistant coach at his alma mater.
Mance played one season at LSU before finishing his career at Rice. Mance was a second-team All-WAC pick in 2003 and was named the Owls’MVP in both 2002 and 2003. Just as decorated in the classroom, Mance was a two-time member of the WAC All-Academic Team and was named the Rice Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2002 and 2003. Following his senior season, Mance was honored with the Bob Quin Award as Rice’s Top Male Student-Athlete and was a finalist for the Creamland Dairies National College Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year award.
This past season, Mance helped lead Vanderbilt to a 19-16 record, becoming the first staff in school history to take the Commodores to the NCAA Tournament, earning a #9 seed in the West Region. VU had five Top 25 RPI wins, six Top 50 wins and 11 Top 100 wins while having the #1 strength of schedule in the nation. Under Mance’s leadership, Vanderbilt led the SEC in free throw percentage (77.7%), three-point field goal percentage (37.6%) and three-pointers made (9.9).
Director of Operations
Rhett Bonner begins his first season as the Director of Basketball Operations for Rice men’s basketball.
Bonner joins the Owls after spending the last two years as an assistant coach at Virginia Wesleyan, where he helped the Marlins to a 45-15 record overall. Last year, Virginia Wesleyan earned a share of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. In 2014-15, the Marlins finished 27-6, making it to the NCAA Division III Final Four.
Prior to VWC, Bonner spent two years at Charlotte serving on the Men’s Basketball staff. He was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the video program while helping the 49ers to the 2012 Great Alaska Shootout and the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off championships.
Van Green is in his first season as video coordinator with the Rice basketball team. Green returns to South Main after serving as an assistant coach at Central Park Christian High School in Birmingham, Ala.
Green came to Rice as a graduate transfer for the 2014-15 season, playing all 32 games and averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds while being a recipient of the Conference USA Academic Medal and C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll. He then served as a graduate assistant with the men’s basketball team during the 2015-16 season.
Green began his playing career at Columbia, playing in 37 games over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons before missing his final two seasons due to injury.
John “CH” Herndon
Herndon has been employed to work privately with some of the best high school, college and professional players in the country. Herndon’s specialty is post play, but he also possesses a mastery of teaching the art of shooting, step by step. While he has the ability to coach and teach the game at the highest level, he also has a gift for being able to break down the game into its simplest parts. “CH” is one of the nation’s finest teachers of the game.
Herndon joined the Rice Owls’basketball staff back in 1993. When the native Houstonian went to Rice he had immediate impact on the floor in his role of developing the Owls’post players. In that time, Herndon built a reputation as one of the finest big man coaches in the country. Herndon played a vital role in resurrecting the Owls’basketball program during Rice’s successful 98/99 season in which the Owls (18-10) were tabbed as the nation’s third best’turnaround team.’While at Rice Herndon has assisted in all aspects of the Owls’program, while serving primarily as the recruiting coordinator and academic liaison. In his first year at Rice Herndon completed a Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching when he taught Spanish classes during the morning at inner city Jefferson Davis High School.
John still serves as summer camp director for the Rice Owls’basketball camps.’CH,’as he is known to the campers, teaches the game like no other. His philosophy is for campers to have fun, to learn and to improve. Watching Herndon interact with campers is a lesson in how to teach and communicate, no matter the subject.
An accomplished clinician, Herndon is a year-round teacher of the game. In the summer of 1999 Herndon helped train one of China’s Select Junior National teams that was preparing for the Olympics. In the summer of 2000 Herndon was selected by the British Virgin Islands to conduct summer basketball clinics for players and coaches. Twice Herndon headed up the NCAA’s Yes Clinic that provided instruction to area youth at the Final Four. And in the summer of 2002 he traveled to Austria as one of two clinicians for a government-sponsored coaches’clinic and position play camp. An accomplished writer and photographer, Herndon has authored and illustrated books on Post Play, Shooting, Building a Program and Youth Basketball.
Herndon came to Rice after working at North Dakota State University, where he was an assistant for the Bison under former Rice and current Texas A&M assistant, Tom Billeter. Herndon helped lay groundwork for two Bison teams that made it to the NCAA Division II Tournament. In addition to his basketball duties at NDSU, Herndon taught a Philosophy of Basketball class.
Before North Dakota State, he was the top assistant at his alma mater, Washington and Lee University. John also served as assistant baseball coach and taught golf and tennis classes in the Physical Education Department.
Herndon attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. A graduate of the class of 1985, Herndon played point guard for the Generals, sang in the Glee Club, was a member of the vocal ensemble’ southern Comfort,’played guitar in a local acoustic band, participated in the’Big Brothers’and worked with local ranchers in the off-seasons and summers. Herndon was a double major in Geology and Spanish.
Upon graduation from W&L, John went into high school teaching, coaching and administration. His first stop was Asheville, North Carolina at Christ School where he worked as assistant to the Athletic Director, coached 3 sports and taught Spanish and Earth Science. Moving to Houston in 1988, Herndon became the Athletic Director of the first year John Cooper School. Herndon also served as the head basketball coach at Episcopal High School. The following year he joined Episcopal full time to become the head basketball and golf coach while also teaching 3 levels of Spanish and serving as the Huddle Leader for the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
A two-time all-conference performer, John attended high school at St. John’s School (1981) in Houston, leading the Rebels to the Southwest Preparatory championship. That SPC Championship team is St. John’s only basketball championship in the last 23 years.