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75th Anniversary Spotlight: Former Stratford High School athlete heads University of Houston Athletics

Memorial High School football coach Gary Koch and University of Houston Vice President of Athletics Chris Pezman

A 1988 graduate of Stratford High School in Spring Branch ISD, Chris Pezman, has walked, and run, on a lot of career pathways to reach his current position as the Vice President of Athletics at the University of Houston (U of H)

Pezman recently shared his appreciation for the head football coach during his playing time at Stratford, Gary Koch, at the November meeting of the Spring Branch Area Retired School Employees.

“I would not be here today without him,” Pezman told the meeting attendees and his former coach, who was also in attendance. “Coach Koch never let you settle for anything less than what you are capable of, and I have tried to use that approach wherever I have worked ever since.”

Koch, who now coaches football at Memorial High School, listened with pride to Pezman talking about his journey from the Stratford football program to:

  • Attending college at and playing football for the University of Houston while earning a bachelor's degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Working at the Astrodome and NRG stadium
  • Being the Assistant Athletic Director for University of California at Berkley
  • Returning to U of H in 2017 to become the university’s Intercollegiate Athletics 11th director, overseeing 17 sports programs, 450 student athletes and 300 employees


Chris Pezman speaking at the Spring Branch Area Retired School Employees meeting

Pezman told the retired employees how glad he was to be back in Houston to raise his own family in Spring Branch ISD. He also explained how athletics, academics and state funding are solidly linked together. He is proud that in past 18 months, a challenging time for students and staff, approximately 340 of the U of H athletes maintained a 3.4 GPA.

"We are doing what we need to do to develop meaningful adults,” Pezman said.

Attendees got a glimpse into the fast-paced events leading up to U of H’s selection to join the NCAA’s Big 12 conference. Pezman is coordinating the enormous steps necessary for athletes to compete on this larger stage by 2023 or 2024. These efforts, along with increased rigor and expanding available academic majors, are moving the university closer to the elite designation of being an Association of American Universities (AAU) school.

As Spring Branch ISD celebrates its 75th Anniversary this school year, we are #SBISDProud of the legacy and accomplishments of our own Chris Pezman, who is leading the University of Houston’s growth and visibility on the national athletics stage.