In the early 1980s, the University of Houston boasted one of the nation’s most exciting, prolific, and high-scoring offenses in the college basketball world. From 1982 to 1984, Phi Slama Jama, “Texas’ tallest fraternity,” advanced to three straight NCAA Final Fours and competed in back-to-back National Championship games.
Carl Lewis established himself as one of the world’s greatest athletes with his performance at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. With gold medals in the long jump, 4x100-meter relay, and 100- and 200-meter races, he matched Jesse Owens’s feat of winning four gold medals in a single Olympics. He finished his career with 10 Olympic medals, including nine gold, and ten World Championships medals, eight of them gold. Lewis is one of many Cougars who have represented Houston and their respective nations with pride at the Olympic Games.
Paul Chu achieved stable superconductivity at 93K, a major achievement in modern science, leading to the creation in 1989 of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, the world’s largest university-based effort in a field with high-stakes commercial application. By the 1990s, Chu and his team had gained over forty patents, broken the temperature barrier of liquid nitrogen, and changed the way the world looked at energy transmission.
Houston quarterback Andre Ware became the first Cougar to win the Heisman Trophy, given annually to college football’s top player. He threw for nearly 4,700 yards with 46 touchdowns, and set 26 NCAA and 15 Southwest Conference records for passing and total offense. Despite UH not playing a game on television that season, Ware earned college football’s highest honor and led the Cougars to a 9-2 record and No. 14 final ranking.