Sampson named NABC top regional coach

Staff Report
Orlin Wagner | AP Photo Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson yells to his team during the first half of his team’s NCAA tournament first-round game against San Diego State last week. The Robeson County native was named the NABC District 25 Coach of the Year. -

HOUSTON — After leading the University of Houston Men’s basketball program to the NCAA Tournament with 27 wins and a perfect 15-0 home record, head coach Kelvin Sampson was honored Wednesday as the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 25 Coach of the Year.

Earlier this month, Sampson, a native of Robeson County and a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, was recognized as the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. With that announcement, he collected the fifth conference Coach of the Year award from the fourth different league during his career. He was previously honored as the Coach of the Year in 1995 from the Big Eight Conference while at Oklahoma; 1991 from the PAC-10 while at Washington State; and in 1984 and 1985 from the Frontier Conferece with Montana Tech.

Finishing his fourth season at Houston, Sampson led the Cougars to one of the best seasons since 1983-84. With a 27-8 overall record, the 2017-18 Cougars became only the sixth team in school history to enjoy 27+ wins in a single season.

Sampson became only the 14th coach in NCAA history to lead 4+ schools to the NCAA Tournament during their careers. He previously led Indiana, Oklahoma and Washington State into March Madness.

Sampson led the Cougars to a thrilling 67-65 win over San Diego State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in Wichita, Kan., on March 15 for the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 1984. The Cougars were just a buzzer-beater away from advancing to the Sweet 16 in a loss to No. 7 Michigan.

With a 14-4 mark in American Athletic Conference play, the Cougars tied for second with No. 11 Wichita State and finished among the league’s Top-3 leaders for the third straight season. It also marked the third-highest conference win total in school history and the most victories since the 1983-84 team went 15-1 in the Southwest Conference.

Sampson’s Cougars posted a pair of Top-10 wins against No. 7 Wichita State (Jan. 20) and No. 5 Cincinnati (Feb. 15), becoming the first Houston team to accomplish that feat since 1983-84.

Sampson was joined by: District 1 – John Becker (Vermont)/Kevin Baggett (Rider); District 2 – Tony Bennett (Virginia); District 3 – Mike Jones (Radford); District 4 – Dan Hurley (Rhode Island); District 5 – Chris Mack (Xavier); District 6 – Travis DeCuire (Montana); District 7 – Chris Holtmann (Ohio State); District 8 – Bill Self (Kansas); District 9 – Mark Few (Gonzaga); District 10 – Bill Coen (Northeastern); District 11 – Steven Henson (UTSA); District 12 – Scott Nagy (Wright State); District 13 – Steven Donahue (Penn); District 14 – Nate Oats (Buffalo); District 15 – Jay Joyner (North Carolina A&T); District 16 – Porter Moser (Loyola Chicago); District 17 – Eric Musselman (Nevada); District 18 – Bashir Mason (Wagner); District 19 – Matt McMahon (Murray State); District 20 – Mike Hopkins (Washington); District 21 – Rick Barnes (Tennessee); District 22 – Wes Miller (UNCG); District 23 – Donte Jackson (Grambling State) and District 24 – Bob Marlin (Louisiana).

Orlin Wagner | AP Photo Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson yells to his team during the first half of his team’s NCAA tournament first-round game against San Diego State last week. The Robeson County native was named the NABC District 25 Coach of the Year.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_Kelvin201832115611203.jpgOrlin Wagner | AP Photo Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson yells to his team during the first half of his team’s NCAA tournament first-round game against San Diego State last week. The Robeson County native was named the NABC District 25 Coach of the Year.

Staff Report