Kelvin Sampson takes Houston Cougars job

Kelvin Sampson takes Houston Cougars job
April 2, 2014, 2:45 pm
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(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson is the new head basketball coach at the University of Houston.

Sampson will join the Cougars on a five-year deal, CSN Houston has confirmed. He'll be the ninth head coach in school history.

“As we conducted our search, we spoke with many people who employed, worked with and worked for Kelvin Sampson at his previous institutions as well as current and former NCAA officials," Houston Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades said.

"Those reviews were extremely encouraging and, in multiple meetings with Kelvin, he was candid and completely transparent about his mistakes in the past. Coach Sampson is committed to leading a first-class program in all areas and is excited to return to the college game."

Sampson has been linked to the Houston job since James Dickey resigned after the season. The university will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Sampson was in his third season as an assistant coach with the Rockets, after spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. This would be his fifth college head coaching job after stops at Montana Tech (1981-85), Washington State (1987-1994), Oklahoma (1994-2006) and Indiana (2006-2007). He compiled a record of 496-271 with 13 trips to the NCAA tournament, including a pair of Elite Eight appearances and one Final Four. Sampson is a two-time NCAA National Coach of the Year winner.

While at Oklahoma, the program was placed under a three-year investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations, mainly stemming from impermissible phone calls made by the basketball staff. He resigned at Indiana in February 2008 during his second season with the Hoosiers amidst more allegations of NCAA violations. Indiana was placed on probation for three years and the NCAA imposed a five-year show-cause order on Sampson, meaning that any member school that wanted to hire Sampson within that five-year period would have to show that Sampson had served his punishment.

That five-year show cause order expired in November 2013.