WSU Basketball Coach Search: Houston Cougars Targeting Kelvin Sampson as Next Head Coach


Mar 14, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Houston Cougars forward TaShawn (35) and guard Tione Womack (14) walk off of the court with teammates after the game against the Louisville Cardinals in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference college basketball tournament at FedEx Forum. Louisville defeated Houston 94-65. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

As we know, there is no official word on whether or not Kelvin Sampson is on Bill Moos’ final short list of five current or previous head coaches, one of which he hopes will take the job offer at Washington State University.

We do know that Sampson has recently pointed out that he “misses the college game” and would be looking to come back for the right situation, leading to him being targeted by the University of Houston Cougars after James Dickey stepped down late yesterday for family matters.

Houston wants him badly according to an ESPN report last night. But while Houston would be a decent move for the near can’t-miss college basketball Hall of Famer and current NBA assistant coach due to his current living situation being with the Houston Rockets, there is a major problem there; M.O.N.E.Y!

I couldn’t find the salary for Dickey as the basketball coach, but I did find the football coaching salaries of the AAC. Houston’s football coach Tony Levine makes a very pedestrian $902,100 a year, which means basketball probably only pays out at most a paltry $650,000.

If Bill Moos is looking to hire Sampson, we can assume this is one of the places where he would have a major leg-up. WSU is looking to pay their new coach around $1,000,000 per year for at least the first couple years. It’s unlikely that Houston could even try to match something in that price range, but it’s very likely that’s at least the kind of compensation Sampson will require.

Of course the other place Moos and WSU would have a leg-up would be the familiarity between Sampson and Washington State, after having led the Cougs for five seasons to begin his run as one of the greatest college coaches of all time, then moving to Oklahoma and Indiana. A second rebuild in Pullman may not only cement his legacy, but also be a nice finish to his career.

Again, we still don’t know who Moos is targeting here, but it makes sense that Sampson would be in that conversation and on that list. If he is it would seem on the surface that the Washington State Cougars are in a better spot than the Houston Cougars to attain his services.