University of Houston men's basketball coach nominated for top coaching honor

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The University of Houston men's basketball team is red-hot, boasting a 27-1 record after defeating the East Carolina Pirates 99-65 Wednesday night, but the players aren't the only ones being recognized for their hustle.

Head coach Kelvin Sampson's leadership is in the spotlight. He's nominated for the Naismith Award, which is given to the coach of the year.

Sampson is one of 15 nominees, which also include Virginia's Tony Bennett and Gonzaga's Mark Few, two previous winners of the award.

The other Texas coach on the list is Texas Tech's Chris Beard.

Sampson took over as head coach of the Cougars on April 3, 2014 after working as an assistant coach for six seasons with the Houston Rockets. He also spent time in the league with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Before joining UH, he'd also enjoyed previous success in the college ranks as the basketball coach at Oklahoma, Indiana, and Washington State, to name a few.

SEE ALSO: University of Houston football to face their origins in 2019

But now it's all about the Coogs for Sampson, who led the program to one of its most successful seasons in decades in 2017-18.

Sampson has been named National Coach of the Year twice.

The Cougars just need to win one more game to match the school record 28 regular season victories set by the 1967-68 team.

Houston will have that chance when they play Saturday at home versus conference foe Central Florida.

It'll be a big weekend for the Coogs for another reason. ESPN College GameDay, the popular pregame basketball show, will air live from the Fertitta Center.

ESPN's College GameDay to visit University of Houston's Fertitta Center
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