According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Cleveland Cavaliers have some interest in former college coach and current NBA assistant Kelvin Sampson. As of right now, the Cavs are reportedly just doing some “fact-finding” on Sampson, and have not yet zeroed in on Sampson as their next head coach.
Sampson was a college coach from 1981-2008, and was a head coach for all but two of those seasons. As the head coach of Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana, Sampson’s career record as a college head coach was 496-271. Sampson’s teams made the NCAA tournament 13 times, including one Sweet Sixteen appearance, one Elite Eight appearance, and one Final Four appearance. Sampson was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1991, the Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1995 (he was also named the AP Coach of the Year that season), and the NABC National Coach of the Year in 2002.
His impressive college career ended in controversy, as he was forced to resign from his head coaching job at Indiana because of a recruiting scandal. Sampson currently has a “show-clause” attached to him, which means any college team that wants to hire Sampson before 2013 must prove to the NCAA that Sampson has served his punishment.
Sampson was hired in 2008 in an “advisory role” with the San Antonio Spurs, and became an assistant coach with the Bucks a month later. The Cavs’ coaching search involves something of a paradox: they need a coach with enough name recognition and “star power” to draw big free agents to their team (most notably LeBron) this summer, but they also want someone who has proven that he knows the NBA game and can get the Cavaliers the championship they so crave. Sampson has (for better or for worse) lots of name recognition from his time as a college coach, and his pedigree as a Popovich/Skiles student at the pro level is something the Cavs have to love — remember that Danny Ferry has close ties with the Spurs organization, and that Mike Brown was a former Spurs assistant. We’ll see what happens with this.