Sampson: The OU Basketball Story'
of the great thrills of Kelvin Sampson's life was joining his father
in the UNC Pembroke Athletic Hall of Fame.
This is from the
first lines of his new biography, "Kelvin Sampson: The OU Basketball
Story," by Steve Richardson (Republic of Texas Press, Plano, Texas,
"I was inducted
more for what I did after I left there. He (Ned ) was inducted for what
he accomplished there. He was a great, great athlete," Kelvin says.
From there, the
book chronicles Sampson's story from his Little League days in Pembroke
to his rise to glory as one of America's elite basketball coaches at
It is worth picking
up a copy, whether you are a basketball fan or a Kelvin Sampson fan.
The book is loaded
with insider information. Take this quote by Sampson from the 1977-78
UNCP press guide: "We lack a proven center, but our experience
from last year as well as some talented freshmen could give us a good
Spoken like a man
who was born to coach. There are plenty more, including a priceless
account of Washington State's tour of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The chapters on
his tenure at Montana Tech are also wonderful. This is where the young
coach learned his trade - the hard way.
After his first
full season at Tech, his mentor, former Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote
called to congratulate him on a 4-23 season: "Hey Kel! You are
the only coach in captivity that could take Montana Tech from obscurity
"I will tell
you how bad that team was," Kelvin says. While carrying him off
the court following their first really big win, "they almost dropped
The Kelvin Sampson
story is not all about fun and games. The author tells how Sampson's
"us-against-the-world" mentality was transformed into a winning
And, it spells out
why he is one of the best coaches in America.
"I was calling
my father because I was having lots of discipline problems. I was asking
him, 'How would you handle this?' It was apparent that I was a stickler
for details. I couldn't understand why they couldn't jump rope for five
minutes without stopping. I could. Running suicides why they didn't
touch the line. When we ran sprints in college, I touched the line.
Kids cut corners. I didn't have any patience. As the year progressed,
we got better in so many areas. And I convinced the kids it was because
we touched every line."
There is more about
Kelvin and his legendary toughness as a coach and kindness as a man.
To this day, Kelvin calls "Mr. Ned" after every game. The
contributions of his wife, Karen, are also well documented.
The biography makes
it abundantly clear that Kelvin Sampson will never forget where he came
from. And, the sky is the limit for this rising star.
It's a great story
and a great book. You can get it from RepublicofTexasPress.com,
or order it from Amazon.com, or
get a copy from the UNCP Bookstore.
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