Kelvin Sampson

Kelvin Sampson (born October 5, 1955)

Current position: Head men’s basketball coach
Current team: Houston Cougars
Current conference: American Athletic Conference (AAC, The American)
Montana Tech record^: 73–45 (.619)
Washington State record: 103-103 (.500)
Oklahoma record: 280-108 (.722)
Indiana record: 43-15 (.741)
Houston record: 199-70 (.740)
Overall record^: 697-341 (.671)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  17  (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  6  (1999, 2002, 2003, 2019, 2021, 2022)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  2  (2002, 2021)
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  4  (1992, 2004, 2016, 2017)
  • AAC Regular Season Champion(2019, 2020, 2022)
  • Big 12 Regular Season Champion(2005)
  • Frontier (NAIA) Regular Season Champion: (1984, 1985)
  • AAC Tournament Champion:  1  (2021)
  • Big 12 Tournament Champion(2001, 2002, 2003)
  • Frontier (NAIA) Tournament Champion: (1983)

Awards:

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2014-present Houston
2011-2014 Houston Rockets (asst)
2008-2011 Milwaukee Bucks (asst)
2006-2008 Indiana
1994-2006 Oklahoma
1987-1994 Washington State
1985-1987 Washington State (asst)
1981-1985 Montana Tech
1980-1981 Montana Tech (asst)
1979-1980 Michigan State (grad asst)

Kelvin Sampson Facts

  • Kelvin Dale Sampson
  • Born October 5, 1955
  • Hometown: Laurinburg, North Carolina
  • Alma Mater: UNC-Pembroke (BS, 1978) / Michigan State (MA, 1980)
  • Is of Native American descent and is the only Native American head coach to lead a team to the Final Four
  • Played basketball, football and baseball at Pembroke High School (NC)
  • Captained of his HS basketball team, playing for his father John W. “Ned” Sampson; went on to play at D-II Pembroke State (now UNC Pembroke)
  • Started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under legendary Michigan State head coach Jud Heathcote
  • Spent one year as an assistant at NAIA Montana Tech before taking over as head coach in 1981
    • Went 73-45 overall in four seasons as the Orediggers’ head coach
  • Moved up to Division I in 1985 as an assistant to Len Stevens at Washington State; took over as head coach two years later
    • Went 103-103 during his tenure at WSU, leading the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament in his final season (1994-95)
  • Took over the Oklahoma program in 1994, leading the Sooners to the postseason in each of his twelve years as head coach (11 NCAA Tournaments, 1 NIT); made it to the Final Four in 2002
    • During his time in Norman, Sampson got in some trouble for making excessive recruiting phone calls
  • Hired in March 2006 to become the new head coach at Indiana, a position he would hold for less than two full seasons
    • Resigned in February 2008 amid another NCAA scandal surrounding excessive calls and text messages; Sampson was given a five-year show cause by the NCAA
  • Moved to the NBA for the next six seasons, spending three years each as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks (under Scott Skiles) and Houston Rockets (under Kevin McHale)
    • Acting Houston Rockets head coach for 13 games during the 2012-13 season, leading team to 7-6 record
  • Returned to the college ranks in April 2014 when he was hired as the new head coach of the Houston Cougars
    • Led the Cougars to an at-large bid in the 2018 NCAA Tournament after falling short in the AAC Tournament final
    • A year later, Sampson’s Cougars claimed the outright AAC regular season title and won his second straight AAC COY award
    • Reached career victory #600 in January 2019 (first 73 wins came at the NAIA level)
    • In 2021, Sampson led the Cougars to their first NCAA Final Four in nearly 40 years; Sampson won the John McLendon Award
  • Along with his wife, Karen, has a daughter, Lauren, and a son, Kellen (an assistant coach at Houston)

Kelvin Sampson Coaching Tree

 

^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the both the NCAA and NAIA levels