Sampson Addresses Native American Education Conference
Sept. 29, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. - Kelvin Sampson was a featured speaker at the Indiana Native American Education Conference at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) on Thursday, Sept. 27. A member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe, Sampson shared his pride in his Native American heritage, and the conference participants are not the only ones who benefited from the IU head coach's appearance.
"This is what it is all about. The great thing about being in a high visibility position is the opportunity to reach out and help other people," Sampson said. "As you get older in this profession, you realize how important it is to be able to reach out, whether it's talking to a group of teachers or anything related to education. It's important to me, and I think it is important to all coaches."
Sampson's father, John W. `Ned' Sampson, was a successful high school coach in Pembroke, N.C., for more than 30 years, and he was recently inducted into the North Carolina Athletic Association Hall of Fame. Ned Sampson was obviously successful on the court, but it was his off-the-court work that persuaded Kelvin to follow in his father's footsteps.
"As a kid growing up, it is easier to be motivated about the future if you see someone succeeding in that field," Sampson said. "My father was a coach, and I remember seeing the impact that he had on kids growing up."
In 24 years as a college head coach, Sampson has never lost track of his roots.
"A lot of it has to do with opportunity," Sampson said. "But just because I had opportunities does not make me special. I was just willing to take some gambles. I wish more Native Americans had more opportunities. I think, in some ways, a minority coach represents all minorities. Minorities need role models - they need to see other minorities succeeding.
Sampson's formula for success is simple.
"If you do things the right way - work hard, treat people right - it does
not mean that you won't make mistakes," Sampson said. "The thing is, you
learn from the mistake and move on. I appreciate these speaking
opportunities and wish that I had time to do them all. Because if you can
influence one life, it is worth it."
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