Speaker Series Adds Oklahoma Basketball Coach


Kelvin SampsonOklahoma University basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has been signed on for the 2002-2003 Distinguished Speaker Series.

Sampson will speak on April 28, 2003 at 7 p.m. at the Given's Performing Arts Center. Tickets will be $10 for the general public.

Sampson, a Pembroke native and a 1978 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has been recognized as one of the nation's top college basketball coaches. His 2001-02 squad finished 31-5 and qualified for the NCAA Final Four.

In 1995, he was named national coach of the year by the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association and Basketball Weekly. He has a 363-222 (.621) career record and a 187-74 (.716) mark at Oklahoma.

"He embodies the quality that we want for all of our graduates," said UNCP Chancellor Dr. Allen Meadors. "A willingness to work hard and to give back when the opportunity occurs. We are proud of him as an alumni, native son and exceptionally fine individual."

Sampson attended Pembroke High School where he captained his high school basketball team for two years, playing for his father John W. "Ned" Sampson.

At UNC Pembroke, he concentrated on basketball and baseball. The point guard was team captain for the Braves as a senior and earned four letters in basketball and three in baseball. He earned Dean's List recognition throughout his collegiate career and was awarded the Gregory Lowe Memorial Award as the school's outstanding physical education major his senior year.

After graduation he became a graduate assistant coach at Michigan State University serving under coaching legend Jud Heathcote. He served as head coach at Montana Tech and Washington State before being hired by Oklahoma in 1994.

He took the Oklahoma job on the advice of retired UNC-Chapel Hill coach Dean Smith, who said he would go the NCAA tournament every year there. Sampson did not disappoint his mentor.

Sampson is a member of UNCP's Athletic Hall of Fame. His father was the first member to be inducted into the hall.

The UNCP Distinguished Speaker Series begins Sept. 24 with former CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell, followed by former "Happy Days" star Henry "The Fonz" Winkler on Nov. 12. The series resumes on Feb. 18 with legendary actor James Earl Jones and continues on March 11 with multi-award-winning performer/actress Rita Moreno.