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University of Houston basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson, gets big perks with new contract

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The University of Houston released details of the contract new basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson, signed in April. The five-year deal, with a mutual option for a two-year extension, is worth at least $4.5 million, but it is his incentive package that is now under scrutiny.


According to documents obtained by The Venture, Sampson will receive an annual base salary of $500,000 plus non-salary compensation totaling $350,000 paid in installments throughout the year.

Sampson’s base salary puts him ahead of Tulsa’s Danny Manning ($480,606), but behind New Mexico’s Craig Neal ($750,000) as indicated by the USA Today’s salary database of college basketball coaches.

If the team meets certain performance goals, Sampson could see his annual take home pay boosted to over $1 million.

Performance Goals

Should the Cougars make an NCAA tournament appearance during Sampson’s tenure, he will receive a one-time increase in base salary of $100,000 and another $100,000 in non-salary compensation.

Other performance incentives include: GPA, graduation success rate, regular season wins, regular season championship, conference tournament championship, NCAA/NIT ranking, coaching recognition and season ticket sales.


Documents show that Sampson also obtained a number perks that are not associated with the team’s on-court performance.

UH will allow him use of two university vehicles or one university vehicle plus a monthly stipend of $800, which includes fuel and insurance reimbursement. The university also threw in vehicles for Sampson’s three assistant coaches.

During the season, UH will provide Sampson with 12 complimentary lower bowl tickets to all regular season basketball games. One of those tickets will likely belong to Karen Sampson, Coach Sampson’s wife, who has the option to travel with the team. The university has agreed to reimburse all travel related expenses for Sampson’s spouse while the coach is conducting official duties.

When the basketball season is on hiatus, Sampson gets six lower bowl tickets to regular season UH football games and can operate summer basketball camps at the university while keeping all the net profits.

Sampson’s held his first two summer basketball camps in the beginning of June. The camps, held in Hofheinz Pavilion, cost $250 per participant ($125 non-refundable deposit).


Sampson has a staff budget between $800,000 – $900,000 annually to compensate seven positions: Three assistant coaches, director of basketball operations, special assistant to the head coach, video coordinator and a student-athlete development position.

In addition to the above staff, the university will also provide a strength coach and two graduate assistants not allocated from the budget mentioned above.


During his tenure as coach, Sampson is prohibited from seeking other college or NBA coaching positions without providing the university written notice and obtaining permission from Mack Rhoades, athletic director, to begin discussions. Rhoades must also approve the team schedule.

“As we conducted our search, we spoke with many people who employed, worked with and worked for Kelvin Sampson at his previous institutions as well as current and former NCAA officials. Those reviews were extremely encouraging and, in multiple meetings with Kelvin, he was candid and completely transparent about his mistakes in the past,” Rhoades said. “Coach Sampson is committed to leading a first-class program in all areas and is excited to return to the college game.”

Sampson, a former Houston Rockets assistant coach, is the ninth head coach in the history of UH basketball.



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