Native Head Coach Encourages Youth as He Takes the Houston Cougars to the #1 Spot in the Nation
For Immediate Release Native Head Coach Encourages Native Youth as He Takes the Houston Cougars to the Number #1 Spot in the Nation Pembroke, NC (November 29, 2022) - As American Indian Heritage Month draws to a close, what a fitting time for celebrations for Houston Cougars Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. On Monday, the Cougar Men's Basketball team was named the No. 1 ranked basketball team in the nation. It is the first time in nearly 40 years for the Cougars Basketball Team to make the #1 AP Poll Ranking. The team ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Poll during the regular season. It was the second big win this month for Sampson. In the second week of November, he celebrated his 700th win. As a part of the celebrations, players, coaches and friends from around the nation sent in videos to congratulate this hero of the game. This March, he was also named the CBS National Coach of the Year. Back home in North Carolina, the more than 50,000 Lumbee Tribal members also celebrate this hometown hero’s wins. Kelvin is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of N.C. This Pembroke, North Carolina Native, shines a light not just on his team, but for thousands of Lumbee Children, who aspire to see Native faces like their own, realizing the dream. Sampson is in his 33rd season as a college basketball coach. He has headed up programs as a head coach at Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, Indiana and now Houston. Coaching is in his blood. His father John “Ned” Sampson, a standout athlete, was also a legendary high school coach, athletic director and teacher in his hometown of Pembroke. Both father and son were sports stars at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Today, that legacy carries on as Kelvin Sampson’s son, Kellen, is an assistant basketball coach at Houston. Sampson’s players often speak of the way he has molded them to grow in knowledge about more than just the game, but to mature as men. Kelvin Sampson’s Lumbee Tribal family is thrilled to cheer him on through every win. He may not be aware in his daily life, but as he clears a path to his own success, he is also smoothing the way for the next generations of Native Youth.