University of Houston hires Kelvin Sampson

HOUSTON — Former Montana Tech men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson will return to college basketball.

Sampson, 58, was hired by the University of Houston, ESPN reports.

Sampson, an assistant with the Houston Rockets, will be introduced as the Cougars’ next coach today.

He previously had been a Division I coach at Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana. He took WSU to the NCAA tournament in 1994 and went to 11 NCAA tournaments in 12 seasons at Oklahoma (including a Final Four in 2002). He was at Indiana for two seasons before being fired.

He was let go by Indiana — and hit with a five-year show cause penalty by the NCAA — after violations regarding impermissible calls to recruits at both Oklahoma and Indiana. The order effectively barred him from coaching in college and expired in 2013.

Sampson’s career began as an assistant at Michigan State in 1979. He came to Montana Tech as an assistant in 1980, and he served as the Orediggers’ head coach from 1981 through 1985.

Sampson was an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2008-2011. He then became an assistant with the Houston Rockets. That stint ended with Wednesday night’s game at Toronto.

He replaces James Dickey, who resigned late last month. Dickey had a 64-62 record in four seasons at Houston, including a 20-13 mark in 2012-13. The Cougars were 17-16 this season.