The University of Houston is progressing in discussions with Kelvin Sampson on making him its men's basketball coach, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Sampson, an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets, met with university officials this week and the two sides have grown increasingly comfortable about entering into a partnership, sources said.
There's optimism that an agreement could be reached in the next several days, but there are still hurdles to overcome in completing a deal, sources said. Despite the momentum on Sampson's candidacy, Houston may still interview one more coach before a deal with Sampson is consummated, according to sources.
Sampson took Oklahoma to the 2002 Final Four, and orchestrated 18 consecutive winning seasons as coach at Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana. Sampson has reached the NCAA tournament 13 times. He's built winning teams around tough defensive and aggressive, physical mindsets.
Nevertheless, Sampson also earned the Sooners and Hoosiers probation for impermissible calls to recruits. The NCAA imposed a five-year show-cause order on Sampson for his role in the violations.
Houston is determined to hire a proven winner on the major college level to restore a long and proud basketball history. The administration is trying to compete with top coaches in the American Athletic Conference at SMU (Larry Brown), Connecticut (Kevin Ollie), Cincinnati (Mick Cronin) and Temple (Fran Dunphy), and the hiring of Sampson would give the program that opportunity.
Sampson interviewed for NBA head coaching jobs with Milwaukee and Charlotte last spring.
After the scandal cost him the Indiana job in 2008, Sampson spent time with the San Antonio Spurs in an official capacity before joining Scott Skiles' staff with the Milwaukee Bucks. After three years in Milwaukee, Sampson moved onto Kevin McHale's staff in Houston in 2011, where he has been the top assistant coach.
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