University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson is the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
“I’m honored to receive the award,” Sampson said. “It’s very much a shared award. First of all it starts with our players who have worked their tails off to have a great year. I’ve got a great staff, from top to bottom. Our goal was to be the best we could be, and we worked tirelessly every day to achieve that goal.
“From my strength coach to my trainer to my assistant coaches to my office staff to our players, we’re all in this together. I accept this award on behalf of them.
Sampson said he immediately “thought about my family” when he learned he was named the AAC Coach of the Year.
The journey that we’ve had,” Sampson said. “My wife and two kids, our personal journey. And then I thought about my mother and father. How proud they’d be.
“My mom and dad would be proud.”
Sampson’s parents have had a lot to be proud of.
He has been named Frontier Conference Coach of the Year (1983, 1985), Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1991), Big Eight Coach of the Year (1995), Associated Press National Coach of the Year (1995) and NABC National Coach of the Year (2002)
With a record of 24-6, the Cougars are the third seed in the AAC postseason tournament.
They were picked to finish sixth in the conference, but tied for second.
“We’re doing what I thought we could do if we had the administration’s support,” Sampson said. “Our administration has done a great job of putting us in a position to be successful. I realize there are no guarantees even with that.
“We achieved something this year that’s special, but, but, but we’ve got a lot of basketball left.”
Sampson is only the third coach in UH basketball history to win a conference Coach of the Year award.
Guy Lewis won the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1984, and Pat Foster won it 1992.
“This award means that our kids had success and that’s good enough for me,” Sampson said.”
UH is considered a lock to get in the NCAA Tournament, and if that’s the case Sampson will become the 14th coach in NCAA history to take four different schools to the tournament: Washington State, Oklahoma, Indiana and Houston.