How UH coach Kelvin Sampson built fan support over the years

“I would like our followers to come back out and support these younger males. They work arduous,” mentioned Sampson of why he started strolling the UH campus in 2016 to ask college students to video games.

HOUSTON — Fans of the University of Houston’s Men’s Basketball Team are finalizing their plans to observe the Cougars tackle the Villanova Wildcats throughout the subsequent spherical of the NCAA event. 

Tip-off is 5:09 p.m. Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio

UH is anticipating a giant present of support in San Antonio and at the college’s watch occasion in downtown Houston alongside Avenida Houston

You can declare your free ticket to Saturday’s watch occasion right here.

Support for the Cougars is excessive this season however that hasn’t at all times been the case.

In reality, in 2016, head coach Kelvin Sampson was two years into teaching and needed to stroll round the campus in Houston’s Third Ward with a bullhorn and the UH Cougar Band to encourage college students to come back to the video games.

He personally invitations college students to the 2016 season house opener.

“You’re coming, right,” requested Sampson in a video shared by UH with KHOU 11.

In 2016 not all followers noticed Sampson’s greater image. 

A gross sales pitch shared with college students inside the college’s scholar union was wanted six years in the past. 

“Hey hear, our first house basketball recreation tomorrow night time at 7 o’clock,” mentioned Sampson earlier than college students clapped and cheered.

Just two years after these fist bumps and the bullhorn, UH would enter the NCAA Basketball Tournament. 

In 2019, the UH Men’s Basketball group punched a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen. 

In 2021, the Cougars danced their manner into the Final Four. 

In 2022, they’re nonetheless in it to win it.

“They be hustling, hustling, hustling,” mentioned UH scholar Eric Moore. “That’s all I can say I give them a five-star rating on their hustling.”

RELATED: Coogs punch ticket to Elite 8 with win over top-seeded Arizona

UH senior Tony Trabulsi mentioned, “They’re going all the way to the final. And they’re going to win the final.”

The Coogs must first win on Saturday in an effort to advance. 

“If they win tomorrow, I’m just canceling all plans and we’re going to New Orleans,” mentioned UH senior Brody Tarpey.

The Houston Cougars remind us that a few of the greatest issues in life include time.

Six years in the past, Sampson started laying the groundwork. His group started placing in the hours.

“Kelvin Sampson is probably one of the best coaches in the country,” mentioned Tarpey. “What he’s done with the team has been fantastic.”

When UH superior to the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday, Sampson’s shirt got here off as he partied along with his group in the locker room. It’s a victory dance on repeat as Kelvin Sampson was named the American Athletic Conference’s ‘Coach of the Year’ earlier this month for the third time.

“We need to get our fans out to support our guys,” mentioned Sampson throughout a press convention in San Antonio. “We’ve needed to do the advertising and marketing.” 

“I want our kids to feel special. But if that’s going to happen, we’re going to have to do it,” he mentioned of his grassroots advertising and marketing marketing campaign. “I want our fans to come out and support these young men. They work hard.”

Sampson and the UH Cougars Men’s Basketball Team have invested years of arduous work that Houston can’t assist however acknowledge and be pleased with.

Come Saturday, at 5:09 p.m, Coog fan Devon Jordan plans to discover a TV and keep in and watch the Coogs win.

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