Kellen Sampson has joined the Appalachian State University men’s basketball staff, head coach Jason Capel announced on Monday.
Sampson will serve as assistant coach after working in a similar role last season at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas.
“I’m very excited about adding Coach Kellen Sampson,” Capel noted. “He brings great energy, love for the game and a passion to help our student-athletes on and off the court. I’ve known Kellen for some time now from afar and have had a chance to watch him work and see the relationships he’s been able to build, not just with players and developing their skill sets and helping them mature as individuals, but also on the recruiting circuit with parents. He’ll be a great asset to our program, a great ambassador for Appalachian State and a young man that’s going to help this program continue to grow to a championship level. We are very happy to have Kellen Sampson.”
Sampson helped the Lumberjacks to 18 wins last season, including a 9-7 Southland Conference record and 13-3 mark at home. SFA led the nation in scoring defense (56.7) and three-point field goal defense (28.4 percent). and also ranked 10th in rebound margin (+7.3). Sampson coached junior Jereal Scott to first team all-conference honors and a 60-percent field goal mark.
Prior to his season at SFA, Sampson spent two years coaching at his alma mater, Oklahoma. The former guard served as a graduate assistant in 2008-09 and strength and conditioning coach the following year. In addition to his direct coaching duties, he served as the program’s film-exchange coordinator and assisted in scheduling official visits for recruits.
In his two seasons working under head coach Jeff Capel, the Sooners won 43 games and advanced to the 2009 Elite Eight. OU had four players selected in the NBA Draft, including 2009 top overall pick and 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin.
Following his 2006 graduation from OU, Sampson worked as a graduate assistant at Indiana in 2007-08 and helped coach the Hoosiers to a 25-8 mark and 14-4 conference record. At Indiana, Sampson mentored a pair of first round NBA Draft picks in Eric Gordon and D.J. White.
In his playing career at Oklahoma, Sampson earned three letters and was the recipient of the team’s Most Inspirational Award and Connection to the Community Award as a senior. He earned First-Team Academic All-Big 12 accolades in 2007. As a senior, he led the team with a 44-percent three-point field goal mark.
Sampson earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Oklahoma, graduating with honors in 2006. He received his master’s in intercollegiate athletics administration in 2009 from OU.
Sampson is a third-generation coach, following in the career footsteps of both his father and grandfather. His father, Kelvin Sampson, is currently an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, following a long career as a college coach that included national Coach of the Year honors in 1995 and 2002. His grandfather, John W. “Ned” Sampson, was a widely respected high school coach in Pembroke, N.C. and is a member of the North Carolina Coaching Hall of Fame.
Sampson replaces Rick Scruggs, who left the Mountaineer bench to pursue head-coaching opportunities.