Kelvin Sampson

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King, C. Richard, Stilling, Glenn Ellen Starr. “Kelvin Sampson.” Native Americans in Sports Vol. 2. 2004.


Born in 1955 and growing up in Pembroke, North Carolina, Kelvin Sampson played football, baseball and basketball in high school, being named to the All-Conference team in the latter for his junior and senior seasons.

Sampson then ventured to Michigan State University to earn a degree in coaching and administration. After he finished his degree, he was offered a head coaching job for the basketball team at Montana Tech. He rejuvenated the program after years of losing almost every game.

He was then offered the same job at Washington State University and continued his success. In his fifth year with the team, he won Pacific Athletic Conference and Kodak District Fourteen Coach of the Year awards. He even took them to the NCAA Tournament in the 1994 season.

In 1995, Sampson took the head coaching job at the University of Oklahoma, where he would have the most success of his career. He led his teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first eight seasons as head coach, including a Final Four appearance in 2002.

Throughout his time in Oklahoma, Sampson won many awards, including: Associated Press Coach of the Year, U.S. Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year, Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year, National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year and Chevrolet Coach of the Year. 

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