November 28, 1960|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1989–1990||Pittsburg State (volunteer asst.)|
|1990–1992||Oklahoma State (assistant)|
|1992–1998||Ole Miss (assistant)|
|1998–2004||Arizona State (assistant)|
|2008–2009||Arizona (interim HC)|
|2013||Phoenix Mercury (interim HC)|
|Head coaching record|
Pennell was born in Pittsburg, Kansas and graduated from Pittsburg High School. He played college basketball at the University of Arkansas and at the University of Central Arkansas, where he was two-year starter at point guard. Pennell later received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Pittsburg State University.
He has been an assistant coach at Pittsburg State, Oklahoma State, University of Mississippi, and Arizona State. Pennell coached at Arizona State from 1998 to 2004. He then ran the Arizona Premier AAU summer league program for two seasons. During the 2007–08 season, he was a color analyst for men's basketball on the Arizona State radio network.
On May 5, 2008, Arizona head coach Lute Olson announced the hiring of Pennell as an assistant coach. Pennell became the interim head coach on October 24, when Olson announced his surprise retirement for medical reasons. As interim coach, Pennell has coached the Wildcats to a 19–13 record in the regular season (9–9 conference). Because of Arizona's mid-season success, Pennell had been rumored as a contender for the Pac-10's Coach of the Year. Ultimately, Pennell did not win the award as Arizona slumped at the end of the regular season, but his work as Arizona's coach was enough to get Arizona into the NCAA tournament for the 25th consecutive year. Arizona advanced past the first round, where, as a 12th seed, they upset 5th seed Utah (Arizona's first first round win since 2006) and defeated 13th seed Cleveland State to move on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. However, Arizona suffered a crushing defeat against overall #1 seed Louisville, losing 103–64. On April 7, Arizona signed Xavier men's basketball coach Sean Miller to a 5-year, $11-million contract, ending Pennell's tenure with the Wildcats.
On April 9, 2009, Pennell was hired as head coach of the men's basketball team at Division II Grand Canyon University, a member of the Pacific West Conference. On March 15, 2013, he resigned, replaced by Dan Majerle.
On August 8, 2013, the Phoenix Mercury announced the hiring of Pennell as interim head coach following the firing of Corey Gaines. Pennell guided the team to the Western Conference finals. He announced after the season that he would not return as coach in 2014, and that he hoped to return to coaching in the college ranks.
On March 5, 2014, news broke that Pennell was expected to be named the next head coach of men's basketball at Central Arkansas.
Pennell is married and has two children.
Head coaching record
|Arizona Wildcats (Pac-10 Conference) (2008–2009)|
|2008–09||Arizona||21–14||9–9||T–5th||NCAA Division I Sweet 16|
|Arizona:||21–14 (.600)||9–9 (.500)|
|Grand Canyon Antelopes (Pacific West Conference) (2009–2013)|
|2011–12||Grand Canyon||19–8||13–5||3rd||NCAA Division II First Round|
|2012–13||Grand Canyon||23–8||14–4||T–2nd||NCAA Division II First Round|
|Grand Canyon:||72–44 (.621)||46–22 (.676)|
|Central Arkansas Bears (Southland Conference) (2014–present)|
|2017–18||Central Arkansas||18–17||10–8||7th||CBI Quarterfinal|
|Central Arkansas:||36–89 (.288)||25–47 (.347)|
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|Phoenix||2013||13||9||4||.692||3rd in Western||5||2||3||.400||Lost Conference Semifinals|
- "Russ Pennell". Arizona State Sun Devils. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012.
- "Forde Minutes: Stretch-run story lines, monopolies and underachievers". ESPN. 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2009.
- "Pennell's new gig in Phoenix a 'great fit'". Arizona Daily Star. 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009.[permanent dead link]
- Negley, Cassandra (August 8, 2013). "Phoenix Mercury fire Corey Gaines, hire Russ Pennell as interim coach". Arizona Republic.
- [Russ Pennell will not return as Phoenix Mercury head coach http://www.swishappeal.com/2013/10/19/4854444/wnba-phoenix-mercury-head-coach-change-russ-pennell]