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Report: Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson near deal to be University of Houston head coach

Apr 2, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT

Kelvin Sampson, Dwight Howard AP

Rockets’ assistant coach Kelvin Sampson turned some heads last season when he guided the Rockets to a strong showing while Kevin McHale was away after the death of his daughter. That got his name in the mix when head coaching vacancies came up last summer, but nothing came together for him.

So Sampson apparently is heading back to college.

Sampson likely soon with ink a deal to become the head coach of the University of Houston, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

A deal is expected to be finalized in the near future, sources said. Sampson, 58, would leave his job with the Houston Rockets, where he serves as the top assistant coach, and take over the Cougars program once the agreement is finalized, sources said.

Sampson met with university officials twice in the past several days – including Saturday, sources said.

At least Sampson doesn’t have to move. Because moving sucks.

Sampson has a long but checkered history at the college level and his hiring is going to cause some controversey. He had success at Montana Tech which landed a job as an assistant at Washington State, where he took over a long dormant program and got them to the NCAA Tournament. That landed him a job at Oklahoma where he had a .719 winning percentage over a dozen seasons and took the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament all but one year, reaching the Final Four once.

That landed him the job at Indiana, but he was forced to resign from that job amid a recruiting scandal, which put sanctions on the university (he had recruiting issues at Oklahoma as well).

He has spent the past six seasons as an NBA assistant coach, first with the Bucks and now with the Rockets.

He returns to college taking over a once proud NCAA program — where Hall of Famer Guy Lewis coached Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and others. They have been less impressive lately, having gone 17-16 this past season and they were making a change.

  1. metalhead65 - Apr 2, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    so houston is apparently willing to accept sanctions that will cripple a program for years in exchange for a couple of winning seasons? then this the hire for you. does not matter that what got him busted before is now legal he will find other rules to break. once a slimeball cheat always a cheat!

  2. txmade06 - Apr 2, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Great hire! Sampson is a good coach, and UH couldn’t have hired anyone better for that position!

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:57 PM

      The university won’t think it’s a great hire if he leaves their program in the state IU’s was when he was forced out there…

      It COULD be a good hire… but BESIDES having issues at IU, he ALSO had issues at Oklahoma.

      He did NOT learn from his “mistake” while at Oklahoma and IU paid for it.

      Why IU hired him after what happened at Oklahoma I don’t know…

      Now, with many yrs since this all happened, Houston thinks, feels, hopes that it’s all in his past.

      Maybe, maybe not.

      Only time will tell.

  3. mogogo1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Good coach if they can put somebody else in charge of recruiting. He’s run into troubles with the NCAA repeatedly, including at his last two stops.

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