Coach's Q&A: Kelvin Sampson
July 3, 2007
Indiana men's basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson sat down with CSTV's Steve Brauntuch recently for a brief question and answer session. The following is the text from the interview.
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Coach's Q&A: Kelvin Sampson
"In 12 seasons at Oklahoma, Kelvin Sampson won three Big 12 Tournament titles. He had 10 seasons with 20-plus wins, and his 111 Big 12 wins are the most in conference history. He reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times, and he led the Sooners to the Final Four in 2002 before losing to eventual champion Maryland. Ironically, with the threat of NCAA sanctions hanging over his head, Sampson left Norman for Bloomington in March 2006 to take over an Indiana program that was desperate for a change at the top. So far, the Hoosiers must be happy with their investment.
Now entering his second year on the bench at one of the nation's most storied programs, Sampson has already landed Mr. Indiana Basketball, Eric Gordon, one of the nation's top recruits. And his incoming class for 2008 is already shaping up to be one of the best in the country. So can Sampson bring the Hoosiers back to their Knight-era glory days? He spoke about taking the Indiana job, the die-hard Hoosier fans and his relationship with his dry cleaner.
SB: When you first took the Indiana job, how much of the decision was made because you wanted to come to Bloomington, and how much of it was because you needed a change of scenery after your time at Oklahoma?
KS: I think as you get older in this profession, you look for new challenges. But to be honest with you, I was perfectly happy at Oklahoma. The timing ended up just being right. Indiana has such great basketball tradition and a reputation of great fan support. It just really appealed to me. You know, my son [Kellen] was going into his senior year at Oklahoma, and we had a tremendous recruiting class coming in, so that was hard to leave. It was really, really hard to leave there, but at the end of the day for me, it came down to an opportunity to come to a place where basketball is really important.
SB: You had a really successful run at Oklahoma. But did you always feel like you were playing second fiddle to the football program in Norman?
KS: Maybe initially, but as my career progressed and our program established itself, I thought football really helped us. Every weekend in Norman during football season is a magical weekend, and that's when we brought in our key recruits. Coach Stoops and his staff were really, really proactive in terms of hosting our kids or meeting with them. We'd bring them down to the field prior to kickoff. So for me, football was an ally. You know, September and October was when kids came on campus for official visits.... Coach Stoops and his staff were helpful, and I thought we worked hand in hand."
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