UH's Sampson holds back tears before OU return: 'All of these relationship were important to me'

Greg Bailey Image
Friday, March 1, 2024
UH's Kelvin Sampson has rare vulnerable moment ahead of OU return
Houston Cougars men's basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson holds back his emotions when he's asked about his time at the University of Oklahoma.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- University of Houston men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson took a long pause as he tried to compose himself.

On Thursday, Sampson was asked about his former player at the University of Oklahoma, Big 8 Player of the Year Ryan Minor, who died in December.

Sampson then wiped away tears as he reflected.

"One thing I notice about getting old is you cry more. When I was younger, that didn't happen, but it's a byproduct of being almost 69, I guess," Sampson said.

On Saturday night, Sampson will lead the No. 1 ranked UH Cougars into Norman, Oklahoma, where he coached the Sooners for 12 years before leaving in 2006.

The following years brought remarkable success and accomplishments at UH and the heartache of losing too many friends from his stay at OU.

Sampson remembered two neighbors and close friends who had also passed away before admitting that Oklahoma would always be a special place for him and his family.

"All of these relationship were important to me," he said. "You start thinking about your 12 years there, and those things will inevitably come into my mind."

Sampson reminded everyone that he won't be alone for his return to the Sooner State. According to the coach, his children - UH assistant coach Kellen Sampson and director of external operations Lauren Sampson - consider Oklahoma the home where they grew up.

Hollis Price and Quannas White played for Sampson at Oklahoma before joining him on the staff at UH.

Sampson reminded everyone that Price was an All-American at OU and the Big 12 Player of the Year. He's thrilled that they get to go back to Oklahoma on Saturday night, too.

"I'm excited for the Oklahoma fans to see Hollis and Quannas and Kellen and Lauren because that's where they spent their formative years," Sampson said.

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