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Coogs' Kelvin Sampson named John McLendon National Coach of the Year

Sampson has led the Cougars to their first Final Four appearance since 1984.

HOUSTON — An amazing season for the University of Houston Cougars men’s basketball team got even sweeter on Friday when their head coach was honored as the best in the business.

Coach Kelvin Sampson was named recipient of the John McLemore Award, which is given to the top college coach in NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJAA.

Editor's note: Video above is from Houston's win over Oregon State.

It’s an honor well-deserved for Sampson, who is in his seventh season at UH. This year, his Coogs have compiled a 28-3 record and first Final Four appearance since 1984.  

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“It’s really no surprise that Kelvin Sampson has returned the Houston Cougars to national prominence,” CollegeInsider.com president Joe Dwyer said. “Winning this award only further validates what most people in college basketball already know, Kelvin Sampson has been an outstanding coach for a long time.”

Credit: AP
Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson cuts a net down after beating Oregon State 67-61 during an Elite 8 game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Under Sampson, Houston has been ranked as high as No. 5 this season and spent 12 weeks in the top 10 of both national polls.

And he’s not just been a one-season wonder. Sampson has led the Coogs to six straight 20-win seasons and has the best winning percentage of any UH coach, racking up a 167-63 record.   

Sampson is the 16th coach in NCAA history to take multiple schools to the Final Four. Earlier this month, he signed a contract extension through the 2026-27 season.

Note: Sampson was named the John McClendon National Coach of the Year. It's a different award than the AP Coach of the Year, which was awarded to Michigan's Juwan Howard.