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Last modified: Wednesday, March 29, 2006

IU names Kelvin Sampson as its men's basketball coach

March 29, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kelvin Sampson, recently of the Universtiy of Oklahoma, was named the 26th head basketball coach at Indiana University by IU President Adam Herbert and IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan today (March 29). Sampson is a two-time national coach of the year who led Oklahoma to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances (three Sweet 16, two Elite Eight and one Final Four finish), 10 seasons with 20-plus wins, three Big 12 Tournament titles and a share of the 2004-05 regular season league crown in his 12-year Sooner tenure. He replaces Mike Davis, who stepped down at the end of the 2005-06 season after leading the Hoosiers to the NCAA Tournament .

According to Herbert, Sampson is an ideal choice to take over one of the nation's most storied college basketball programs.

"Our new coach is the right man to maintain and build upon IU's long and storied traditions. IU basketball is an elite program that plays by the rules and graduates its student athletes," Herbert said. "There is no question that wins and losses are very important to members of the Hoosier family. Equally important to us are high academic expectations and the core character values of the university. I am convinced that our new coach understands fully and is determined to meet Indiana University's high overall expectations."

Prior to his stay at Oklahoma, Sampson spent seven years (1987-94) as the head coach and two years as the assistant coach (1985-87) at Washington State and four years (1981-85) as the head coach at Montana Tech. In addition, Sampson has been heavily involved with USA Basketball and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and he also has played a prominent role in community service in Norman, Okla.

Sampson 's well-rounded personality will be valuable to Indiana Athletics, said Greenspan.

"The trademarks of Coach Sampson's teams are that they are hard-nosed, disciplined and unselfish. Off the court, he maintains a strong presence in the coaches governing body, international basketball, and most importantly, the community. This combination makes him an excellent fit as our coach," said Greenspan.

Sampson has long admired Indiana's tradition and success, and the veteran head coach looks forward to building upon these laurels.

"First of all, I would like to thank the University of Oklahoma for 12 great years," Sampson said. "In particular, I would like to thank (OU President) David Boren, (athletics director) Joe Castiglione and my former players.

"Indiana is one of those special places where you say 'basketball', and Indiana is an automatic word association," Sampson continued. "Every coach sees it as a great basketball state with tremendous high school coaches and players, and we will do our best to keep those players in the state."

Sampson brings impressive credentials with him to Bloomington, including a 455-257 (.639) overall head coaching record and a 279-109 (.719) ledger at OU. Sampson averaged 23 wins per season during his 12-year Oklahoma career. The Sooners were sixth in the nation with 156 victories and a .776 winning percentage from 1999-00 to 2004-05. OU has finished among the top three of the Big 12 Conference eight of the last 10 years, and they have won 12 of their last 17 overtime games (18-11 total).

With a 20-9 record in 2005-06, Sampson coached OU to its ninth consecutive 20-win season. Including this season, only five other coaches have posted 20 victories each of the last nine years: Lute Olson (16), Tubby Smith (13), Mike Krzyzewski (10), Jim Boeheim (nine) and Jim Calhoun (nine).

Sampson's club was productive on the court and in the classroom. The squad posted a 3.14 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale in the 2005 fall semester, setting a single-semester record for the 12-year Sampson era. Eight of the 12 team members recorded a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

In Big 12 competition, Sampson amassed 111 regular season victories, the most in league history. He was 111-49 (.694) in conference play since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996-97. Sampson also holds the Big 12 record for most combined regular season and conference tournament wins at 128-56 and holds the mark for most overall wins by a conference coach since the Big 12 was formed at 239-87.

Under Sampson's leadership, Oklahoma enjoyed one of the most successful three-year runs in school history from 2000-03. The Sooners were 84-19 (.816), won three straight Big 12 Tournament titles and advanced to the 2002 NCAA Final Four -- before losing to Indiana in the national semifinals -- and the 2003 NCAA Elite Eight.

Sampson was named to the Oklahoma position on April 25, 1994, after seven successful seasons at Washington State. One of only four men to win 20 or more games in a single season in Washington State history, Sampson directed the 22-11 Cougars to the 1992 National Invitation Tournament, and earned Pac 10 Conference Coach of the Year honors. Sampson concluded his stay in Pullman by leading Washington State to a 20-11 mark and the 1994 NCAA Tournament, the Cougars' first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years.

Sampson served as an assistant coach at WSU from 1985-87. He began his head coaching career at the helm of the Montana Tech program from 1981-85. After spending the 1981-82 campaign as the interim head coach, Sampson led the Orediggers to a 73-45 mark in his final four years. Montana Tech had won just 17 games in the three years combined prior to Sampson's arrival. He closed his Montana Tech tenure with three straight Frontier League titles.

Sampson also boasts an extensive background with USA Basketball. He was the head coach of the 2004 USA Basketball World Championship for Young Men Qualifying Team that posted a 5-0 record and earned a gold medal in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That 2004 squad featured former Hoosier standout Bracey Wright, as it captured the U.S.'s first gold medal in the event since 1996.

Sampson, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Golden State Warriors coach Mike Montgomery were assistant coaches to George Karl on the 2002 USA Men's World Championship team in Indianapolis. That squad included current NBA stars Paul Pierce, Michael Finley, Elton Brand and Baron Davis.

In the summer of 1995, Sampson served as head coach of the USA Men's Junior World Championship team that played in Larissa and Athens, Greece. That team featured current NBA players Samaki Walker and Stephon Marbury.

Sampson was an assistant coach to George Raveling on the 1994 USA Goodwill Games team that competed in St. Petersburg, Russia. Damon Stoudemire, Shawn Respert, Finley and Tim Duncan led that club to the bronze medal.

Sampson began his USA Basketball tenure as the head coach of the 1993 Olympic Festival West team in San Antonio, Texas. Jerod Haase, Charles O'Bannon and Jerald Honeycutt helped that club to the silver medal.

Last August, Sampson joined Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Alabama's Mark Gottfried, South Carolina's Dave Odom, Charlotte's Bobby Lutz, former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, former St. John's coach Mike Jarvis and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas for an invaluable five-day experience. They each served as coaches for "Operation Hardwood -- Hoops with the Troops," an eight-team U.S. Army troops' basketball tournament in Kuwait.

"I remember asking soldiers, 'Don't you get scared?' Their response was 'Coach, this is what we do. This is our life. We're protecting our country. This is our job'….As a coach, I always talk about how I want my team to be committed, understand roles and have great chemistry. Well, I had a chance to be around the ultimate team -- the United States Army. And I learned so much."

Sampson has been extensively involved in numerous Norman community organizations. Sampson has served as co-chairman of the United Way and Special Olympics, and he instituted the Sooner Reading Program, where OU players and staff visited every elementary school in the Norman area to communicate the importance of reading. Sampson has also participated in functions for the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts of America and the Children 's Miracle Network.

Sampson was born on Oct. 5, 1955, in Laurinburg, N.C. He was raised in Pembroke, N.C. and was an all-league three-sport star (football, basketball and baseball) at Pembroke High School. He captained his high school basketball team for two years, coached by his father, John W. "Ned" Sampson.

Sampson enrolled at Pembroke State University (now UNC Pembroke) where he earned four letters in basketball and three in baseball. He was a Dean's List student at Pembroke and received the Gregory Lowe Memorial Award as the school's outstanding physical education major as a senior.

Sampson received his bachelor's degrees in health and physical education, and political science from Pembroke in 1978 and his master's degree in coaching and administration from Michigan State in 1980. During his stay in East Lansing, he served as a graduate assistant to Jud Heathcote.

Sampson, who was inducted into the Montana Tech Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Pembroke State Hall of Fame in 1998, is married to the former Karen Lowery. They have one daughter, Lauren and one son, Kellen. Lauren is the Director of Sports Marketing at College of Charleston, while Kellen is a walk-on sophomore on the Oklahoma basketball team.