Indianapolis – He’s still here, Indiana. Your guy, Calvin Sampson. Still winning in your backyard. Now back to the final four.
It’s a very good emotional story for Sampson’s relentlessly gifted Houston Cougars, who haven’t moved on since Fee Slamma Jama was an active fraternity almost 37 years ago. Fans of Indiana University who hold Sampson in the same context as identity thieves and tax evaders, have a very bad emotional story. What is liberating on a fan base can be replicated in another.
Sampson left the state in 2008 after a disgrace and returned with pride in 2021, returning to the former school in an extended mediation and changing coaches. Monday was started to allow Mike Woodson to be relegated to the IU, and 11 hours later Sampson was waving the regional championship net over his head at Lucas Oil Stadium. Justposition lands like a ton of Indiana limestone.
Houston’s then easy-to-1 regional final win against Reagan State was Sampson’s 1,000th game as head coach of the college, and he went on to win 666 of them. It’s both an impressive number and, perhaps, a fitting number for locals. To use the March opera paragraph phrase, Calvin has survived and moved on.
This guy was not Houston but a net cutter for the Hussars. But, when he was fired in the final stages of the 2007-08 season, they all fell apart, with plenty of promise before dissolving the NCAA breach. He was beaten for breaking the rules by Sampson and his staff and is no longer on the books: awkward recruiting phone calls. But those were the rules of the time, and not only did Sampson break them, he got into trouble for violating the same bylaws in his previous job at Oklahoma.
Sampson in the spring of 2006 in Tuma I.U. Arrived, and soon after he was banned from calling recruiters for violations of Oklahoma and making trips for a year to recruit on-campus. “I have learned an invaluable lesson, and I hope that this emphasizes the importance of every aspect of NCAA compliance to other coaches,” Sampson said in a statement to the IU at the time of the initial sanctions.
The statement contains the most bogus in the history of the game, as Sampson boldly doubled down on the same violations as the Hoosiers coach. It was an unbearable offense for the school to take pride in playing by the rules throughout Bob Knight’s run. He was fired, the players escaped the program, and Indiana sank into a huge reconstruction hole.
Samps paid the price in 2008, receiving a five-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA. He was actually out of the college league game for six years, exiled in the role of assistant coach in the NBA before landing a job in Houston. Athletic director Mark Rods was picked up by Baylor just now, and the Bears will be the Cougars ’final four opponents on Saturday.
It turned out to be the second sensationally successful chance for Sampson. Or maybe a third chance. When you are good at this, you get more opportunities.
This is Sampson’s sixth straight season of 20 wins and his fourth straight single-digit season. Record in the last four: 111-23. His Houston teams played like his vintage Oklahoma teams in the 1990s and 2000s, both defensively and on the backboard. Tough stuff is their skill.
If any season comes out as Sampson’s coaching masterpiece, this is it. Three 2020 startups unexpectedly lost: Fabian White Spring ripped ACL in you; Nate Hinton became a pro after her softmore season; And then the leading scorer of 2020, Caleb Mills, transferred eight games this season.
Houston never blinks. The Cougars finished 21–3 in the regular season, rolled out of the American Athletic Conference Tournament and were seeded the No. 2 NCAA Tournament. Only when fate intervened on their behalf.
After beating No. 15 Cleveland State in the opening round, the Midwest Region bracket fell off their feet. They played No. 10 Seed Rutgers in the second round, not No. 7 Clemson. They played No. 11 Seed Syracuse in the third round, not No. 3 West Virginia or No. 6 San Diego State. And then they drew the No. 12 state of Oregon, with the state No. 12 Irenaeus, No. 4 Tennessee and No. 5 Oklahoma. This is the first time a team has played anything other than a double-digit seed in the final four.
Reg Reagan State spent about 31 minutes, playing like the 12th seeded seed, who wandered into the regional finals. The Beavers turned against Houston’s defense, leaned over the glass and trailed by 17 points at halftime. It was time to start researching the biggest elite eight blowouts in Tourni’s history.
But Van Tinkle dug into the bag of his zone defense tactics and paralyzed the Cougars with the emergence of a 1-3-1-3-201 conc. Syracuse to U.S.C. Zones up to the state of Oregon have wreaked havoc on this tourney. When facing the zone each season, fewer teams get used to attacking 1-3-1-1.
With Houston dithering, the Beavers began to ache away from what was a 14-point deficit at the nine-minute mark. Ginny Hunt with three-pointer – 55 runs with app: remaining8 left 1–– run game off, and it seems very realistic that the Oregon State Cougars will have the most seed in the final four or ever ahead. To grow.
But in the TV deadline, which was before Hunt tied three pairs, Samps reinforced his team’s need to keep attacking and resist inactivity. “Don’t be afraid of failure,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to miss a shot.”
Leading scorer Quentin Grimes was held to an open special position against 1-3- 1-3-201 against, and he made three deliveries that gave Houston a good win. At the defensive end, the Cougars resumed knocking down Beaver, who very suddenly lost the mojo that made his comeback. They couldn’t do anything more aggressively than the stretch, and Houston will hold on to this.
When the horn finally blew, Sampson pulled himself out of the chair and onto the outside of his son and assistant coach, Kellen. They took a long hug, and then came a long moment with regional most outstanding player Dijon Jarre. Her tears flowed when her daughter, Lure Ren, the program’s director of operations, hugged her 65-year-old father.
Lure Ren was so nervous at the last minute that she sank from her chair and from the Houston bench onto the floor opposite the court. A few moments later she was also on the midcourt next to her dad, Callen on the other hand, when someone took a photo of him with the regional championship trophy.
It’s been 19 years since Sampson’s last four appearances, which came when he was coaching Ok Klahoma. Sampson took a team to the final weekend of the season for the first time, his career was still climbing and full of promise that he was taken to Indiana. Then it crashed. The man who climbed the stairs in Lucas Oil on Monday night revived those crash stains and methodical career wrinkles.
He’s a hero in Houston and a perennial in Indiana, where he still doesn’t understand how to win big. The day they rebooted once again in Bloomington, Calvin Sampson re-emerged 50 miles north.