HOUSTON -- Upon learning University of Houston coach Rayner Noble was out of a job Friday after 16 seasons, former Cougars baseball player and Astros center fielder Michael Bourn was caught by surprise. Noble also recruited Lance Berkman while an assistant at crosstown Rice University.
"It's always surprising when you see someone lose their job," said Bourn, who played at UH from 2001-03 before being drafted by the Phillies. "You know how much time and work and hard effort he put into it. I will say I wish the best for coach Noble and his family.
"I know his family and two daughters, so I wish the best for them, and I know he'll find another job elsewhere without any question. Best wishes to him down the road."
The Cougars made it to the NCAA Tournament all three seasons Bourn was on the team and lost in the Super Regionals in 2002 to eventual national champion Texas and again in 2003 to eventual national champion Rice. Jesse Crain, Chris Snyder, Rob Johnson and Ryan Wagner were among the other Major Leaguers who were college teammates of Bourn.
"Coach Noble was a hard-nosed coach, and I liked that," Bourn said. "My dad was like that to me [when he coached me and Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford as youths], so I was used to it. He was always trying to get the best out of you."