Big 12 Basketball

Kelvin Sampson Says Son, Kellen, is ‘Ready to be a Head Coach’

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Rutgers at Houston

It’s a pretty widely held opinion that Kelvin Sampson is one of the top basketball coaches in America, and has been, for quite some time.

When Sampson inherited the Houston program in 2014, the Cougars were a dormant program that had one NCAA Tournament bid in the 22 seasons prior to his arrival. However, since he took over, Houston has been to five consecutive tournaments and to the Sweet Sixteen or better in each of their last four tournaments, including a Final Four in 2020-21.

This season, Houston has joined the Big 12 and is projected as a No. 1 seed in the tournament next month, which is quite impressive considering the conference that Sampson and the Cougars walked into.


Sampson, 68, has been coaching basketball since 1979 and has seen pretty much everything there is to see in college basketball over the last four decades. At some point, Sampson will have to hang it up, but Houston is already prepared for that day, whenever it may be.

Kelvin’s son, Kellen, is an assistant coach for the Cougars and has been with UH since his father took over as the head coach in 2014. Kellen’s stint at Houston is the first time that he’s worked under his father as a full-time assistant, and in that time he’s picked up a lot of things from his old man.

Houston beat writer Joseph Duarte recently asked Kelvin what he’d seen from his assistant coach, Kellen, as it related to in-game management. Needless to say, the head coach likes what he’s seen.


“He sees things that an outstanding coach would see,” Kelvin said, according to Duarte. “My eyes are old, but they are experienced. I see a lot of things and anticipate certain things. I’ve been so impressed with Kellen’s development and his progress.

“He’s ready to coach this team … Kellen is ready to be a head coach.”

Kellen has been designated as the head coach-in-waiting at Houston, making him the eventual successor to Kelvin Sampson at UH. For the time being though, Kellen will try and learn everything that he can from his father, in hopes of someday replicating his success. From what Kelvin’s said though, it sounds like Kellen is well on his way.

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