The University of Houston has reached agreement to hire Kelvin Sampson as its head basketball coach, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Sampson, 58, will leave his job with the Houston Rockets, where he serves as the top assistant coach, and take over the Cougars program once the agreement is finalized, sources said.
Sampson met with university officials twice in the past several days – including Saturday, sources said.
Houston officials are willing to withstand the criticism that'll come with Sampson's appointment that stem from past violations of NCAA rules, which clouded his history at Indiana and Oklahoma.
Sampson brought 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 defense and aggressive, physical mindsets.
Nevertheless, Sampson earned the Sooners and Hoosiers probation for impermissible telephone calls to recruits. The NCAA imposed a five-year show-cause order on Sampson for his role in the violations, which recently expired.
As part of his coaching staff, Sampson is expected to hire his son, Kellen, sources said. Kellen Sampson spent the past three years as an assistant coach at Appalachian State.
Houston was determined to hire a proven winner on the major college level to restore a long and proud basketball history. In the American Athletic Conference, the administration is trying to compete with top coaches 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 two years in Milwaukee, Sampson moved on to Kevin McHale's staff in Houston in 2011, where he has been the top assistant coach.
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