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Kelvin Sampson will leave Rockets to become University of Houston head coach

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Top assistant and veteran coach Kelvin Sampson has accepted a job with University of Houston and will be leaving the Rockets staff.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Just over a week ago, word began to circulate that the University of Houston was eyeing Kelvin Sampson as James Dickey's successor, and today those reports came to fruition, as the University is reportedly close to an agreement that would make him the Cougars head coach. Sampson has served as the Rockets top assistant for the last three seasons under Kevin McHale, and is departing to lead his fifth college program.

Sampson's last stop in NCAA basketball was his infamous tenure at Indiana University, where he was implicated in a large recruiting debacle. He would lose his job with the Hoosiers and join the Bucks as an assistant that same year. Now, he has a clean slate at University of Houston, and will look to build off of the success he had with the Rockets who went from a rebuilding team to championship contender in just three years.

From the Rockets' perspective, this hiring is a big loss. Sampson's presence was crucial in a locker room full of big personalities. He is a talented coach, but he is perhaps an even better motivator, constantly demanding hard work out of his players and backing up those words by getting sweaty with the players in one-on-one drills. There is no word yet on whether the Rockets will make another hire to replace him, but he will be missed by the coaching staff.