Houston Rockets: Kelvin Sampson’s Future

By Michael Ma

Dec 4, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets interim head coach Kelvin Sampson watches from the sideline during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets lead assistant Kelvin Sampson’s name has been circulating around the NBA as a potential head coaching candidate.  Over the weekend, the Yahoo! Sports reported that Sampson and Nate McMillan are currently leading candidates to take over the vacant Milwaukee Bucks head coach position.

Sampson will interview this week with the Bucks, and will interview with a couple other teams as well.  The Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers, and Detroit Pistons all have expressed interest.

Sampson did a solid job as interim head coach of the Rockets in November, going 6-6 in 12 games when head coach Kevin McHale took a leave of absence.

Sampson was hired as an assistant by the Bucks in 2008 under head coach Scott Skiles, and has been with the Rockets for the past two seasons under Kevin McHale.  He is most known from his days as a college head coach, where he was very successful coaching Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana.

Sampson began his head coaching career in 1981 at Montana Tech where he went just 7-20 in his first season, but led the team to at least 20 wins each for the next three seasons.  After seven seasons at Washington State, Sampson took over the Oklahoma program in 1994 and instantly excelled.  In 10 of the 12 seasons at OU, Sampson helped the Sooners reach at least 20 games, including a Final Four appearance in 2002.

Sampson has played a big part in the Rockets growth this season, and will be missed if he does not return next season.