Berry Tramel

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Kansas State basketball: Kelvin Sampson not a candidate

by Berry Tramel Published: March 29, 2012

Would Kansas State consider hiring Kelvin Sampson to replace Frank Martin? The answer is no. Sampson remains under the NCAA’s show-cause penalty until November 2013, which means any school hiring Sampson is subject to sanctions during that span.

Sampson twice was penalized by the NCAA for illegal contact violations (excessive telephone calls), first at OU, then at Indiana. Sampson now is an assistant coach with the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

But it’s an interesting question for the school that revived its basketball tradition by reviving the career of the defrocked Bob Huggins, whose splendid Cincinnati career had ended in scandal.

Huggins spent one year at K-State, pumped life into a once-proud program, then moved on to his alma mater, West Virginia, which he since has taken to a Final Four. Huggins left behind assistant coach Frank Martin, who took over the program and built upon the Huggins start.

Now Martin has taken the South Carolina job, and KSU is in the market. What if K-State decides to go the reclamation route again?

We talked about it on my radio segment Wednesday. We talked about Sampson, then I mentioned Tim Floyd and Jim Traber mentioned Larry Eustachy. So that prompted me to make a list of coaches who have been successful in the past but have fallen from grace:

Tim Floyd gestures that his coaching style is to yell during a game at a news conference Thursday, July 23, 1998 at the United Center in Chicago. Floyd joined the Chicago Bulls Thursday as their director of basketball operations until the end of the NBA lockout. Floyd said  Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf left open the possibility of a return by Phil Jackson. If Jackson declines, Floyd will become coach. Floyd say he has to yell because he never learned how to whistle as Jackson did.  (AP Photo/Stephan J. Carrera)
Tim Floyd gestures that his coaching style is to yell during a game at a news conference Thursday, July 23, 1998 at the United Center in Chicago. Floyd joined the Chicago Bulls Thursday as their director of basketball operations until the end of the NBA lockout. Floyd said Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf left open the possibility of a return by Phil Jackson. If Jackson declines, Floyd will become coach. Floyd say he has to yell because he never learned how to whistle as Jackson did. (AP Photo/Stephan J. Carrera)
Tim Floyd: Big-time winner at Iowa State who then went to the NBA as the coach of the post-Jordan Bulls and the Hornets. He landed at Southern Cal in 2005 and went 85-50 in four years, coaching such stars as DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and O.J. Mayo. But Floyd resigned in June 2009 after reports surfaced that he gave cash to Mayo handler. Floyd surfaced at Texas-El Paso, where he once served as legendary coach Don Haskins’ assistant. UTEP has gone 40-27 in Floyd’s two seasons.

Larry Eustachy: Coached Iowa State to back-to-back Big 12 titles (2000, 2001) but lost his job after a scandal that involved drinking with coeds. Eustachy resurfaced at Southern Miss, where in eight seasons he’s gone 142-113 and made the NCAA Tournament this year.

John Brady: Coached LSU to the Final Four in 2006, then was fired 22 months later for not winning enough. Has coached Arkansas State the last four years, going 61-65.

Dave Bliss: This would be the ultimate redemption attempt. Bliss’ Baylor scandal trumps all others – he tried to paint murdered player Patrick Dennehy as a drug dealer, to cover up NCAA violations. Bliss is 68; he’s not likely to get another chance.

Clem Haskins: Coached Minnesota to the 1997 Final Four but lost his job amid a major academic scandal. Hasn’t coached since 1999 and is 68, so he’s a longshot.

Oklahoma City coach P.J. Carlesimo shouts during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008. .  BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma City coach P.J. Carlesimo shouts during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008. . BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
P.J. Carlesimo: Coached Seton Hall to the 1989 NCAA title game, then went to the NBA, where he got choked by Latrell Sprewell and fired 13 games into the Thunder’s Oklahoma City adventure. Still just 62, Carlesimo has some basketball left in him.

Jan van Breda Kolff: The son of long-time NBA coach But van Breda Kolff, Jan coached Cornell, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine and St. Bonaventure. He took Pepperdine to the 2000 NCAA Tournament (losing to OSU, after beating Indiana). But an academic scandal at St. Bonaventure cost him his job.

Jim O’Brien: Coached Ohio State to the 1999 Final Four but was fired in 2004 amid allegations of providing financial support to international recruits. The NCAA banned O’Brien in 2006, but the restrictions were lifted in 2008. Now coaching Emerson College, alma mater of Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

Some other coaches are probably too old to be considered: Bobby Knight, Eddie Sutton, Jim Harrick, Nolan Richardson. All in their 70s.

Of course, K-State could hire 71-year-old Larry Brown, who coached Kansas to the 1988 NCAA title and jumped from job to job, mostly in the NBA, for almost 40 years. Almost all with great success.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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