The men’s NCAA tournament final is on us and both matchups offer a lot of intrigue. College basketball has four recognizable programs in the semifinals of Houston, Baylor, Gonzaga, and UCLA, although they all part ways in their history.
You can find more information about Gonzaga and the UCLA matchup here. On the other side of the bracket, we’ve got an inter-Texas fight between Houston and the boiler.
The Cougars were a major force in the 1980s. Led by future NBA Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Dreschler, the Fei Slama Jama team popularized the aforementioned style of play to the present day. Those Cougars won three straight final four matches from 1982 to 1984, but the team lost in both the 1983 and 1984 championship games. This year marks the first time the program has returned to the Final Four since the Phi Slama Jama crew.
If you think 37 years is a long time, check out the Boiler Bears, who are making their first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1950. Grandparents Today’s Bears players were not born yet. Over the past decade, the Bears have been a regular tournament mainstage, although they have faced some massive upsets, including one against Georgia State – where the Panthers coach Ron Hunter fell to his shit – and against a Yale, which featured Probably the best post-game interview clip ever.
Baylor as a university has seen success with its women’s team – the Baylor Lady Bears won the 2012 and 2019 championships and are one of the top teams in the country. But, like the Cougars, the Beers men’s team has never won it all.
It should be a great matchup between the two squads with quite the opposite style. Where are Houston head coach Calvin Sampson and boiler head coach Scott Drew today?
Calvin Sampson, head coach of the Houston Cougars
Calvin Sampson grew up in Pembroke, North Carolina. He attended Pembroke High School and was a guard at Pembroke State University (today called UNC Pembroke). Sampson spent a year at Michigan State University receiving his master’s degree in coaching and administration. His stay included a year as an assistant to coach Judge Heathcote, which laid the foundation for Sampson’s coaching career.
Upon leaving Michigan State, Sampson took an assistant coaching position at the NAIA school Montana Tech. With the Orediggers, Sampson quickly became interim and then head coach. Prior to Sampson, the team won a combined 17 games in three seasons. Under Sampson’s leadership, the team won three Frontier Conference championships and finished with a 71–45 record over four seasons.
In 1985, Sampson rose to the NCAA rank with an assistant coaching position at Washington State, becoming the head coach two years later. Although he eventually finished with a .500 record (103–103) in seven seasons, Sampson completed several milestones with Washington State. In 1992, he was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year and in 1994 he led the NCAA tournament, ending an 11-year drought.
In 1994, Sampson took over as head coach at the University of Oklahoma. In his first season, he was named AP Coach of the Year. He led the Sooners for nine straight seasons of at least 20 wins and has the best winning percentage (-719) of any coach in program history. The Sooners won the Big 12 championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003, reaching the final four in 2002. During its Oklahoma tenure, the school received a three-year investigation for recruiting violations.
When Mike Davis resigned in Indiana in 2006, Sampson took over as the head coach of the Hosiers. Sampson called it one of the few jobs to leave Oklahoma. However, his time with Hosiers was short.
After leading the team to the NCAA tournament in 2007, Sampson resigned in February 2008 after several NCAA violations surfaced. Specifically, Sampson made inseparable phone calls for recruitment and told Indiana and NCAA officials about his involvement. Sampson also played a role in the controversial recruitment of star player Eric Gordon. However, despite allegedly hiring people close to Gordon and out of a verbal commitment to Illinois, whatever Sampson did was not technically illegal.
Nevertheless, the recruiting violation caused the NCAA to impose a five-year show on Sampson, essentially blackballing him from the game for five years.
Serving the cause of that show, Sampson spent time as an assistant coach for both the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets.
After the penalty period ended, the Houston Cuggers hired Sampson, who pushed for a new practice facility and renovations at the Cougars home court.
Sampson led the Cougars to a 33–4 season in 2019, including an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16. After canceling the 2020 tournament due to a coronovirus epidemic, the Cougars are 28–3 entering the finals and received a 2–21 in the NCAA tournament. Houston became the first team to reach the final four by playing all double digit seeds.
Sampson agreed to a six-year, $ 18 million contract extension in 2019, so he earned $ 3 million this year. To lead the Cougars to a championship, he would have to attend a fellow school in Texas.
Scott Drew, head coach of The Boiler Bear
Unlike Sampson, Baylor head coach Scott Drew has only ever been a head coach at two schools. But he since then spent a lot of time around the first game. Although he did not play college ball, he worked as a student manager for the Butler Bulldogs, and after graduation, he took a job at Valparaso University under his father Homer Drew.
The crew spent a decade with the Crusaders. For nine years, he worked as an assistant to his father, quickly gaining a reputation as one of the country’s top recruiters. His friendly behavior and charming personality helped him meet new players, and even though he was still an assistant, the word about young Drew was spreading.
When Homer retired in 2002, Scott took over as Valparaiso’s head coach. The Crusaders had the best regular season record in the Mid-Continent Conference, but lost in their conference tournament and missed the NCAA tournament, instead settling for an NIT bid.
Drew did not stay long as head coach at Valparaiso. During the summer of 2003, the Baylor Bears men’s basketball program experienced a tragedy that exposed several scandals throughout the program.
Boiler forward Patrick Dennhy disappeared; His body was later discovered and his partner Carlton Dotson was convicted of his murder.
After Denny’s death was a murder secret, it was revealed that Bayer’s former coach Dave Bliss secretly paid Danny and another team part of the tuition. Other violations, including violations and drug use, caused the NCAA to impose stricter restrictions on the boiler program.
The university was placed on probation until June 22, 2010. Between limits: Low paid scholarships and paid recruiting visits, the team could not play any non-conference games during the 2005–06 season and postseason play was canceled for 2003. -04 season.
Drew took over in late August after Bliss resigned. Drew was already coming later than most new coaching hires, and most of Bayor’s top players had transferred. As a result, the school won only 21 games in its first three seasons.
But the university believed Drew, and once he was able to bring his own recruits, the school began to twist its fortunes. During the 2007–08 season, Drew led the Bears to a 21–9 record, making their first NCAA tournament appearance in 20 years.
School reform continues; Baylor reached the Elite Eight in both the 2010 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments.
Last year, Byers had the best season 26-4 in school history. He was certainly a national title contender before the 2020 tournament was canceled. With several players returning, Drew and The Bears also had another better season together this year. Entering the final four, they are ahead 26–2.
During the 2020–21 season, Drew grossed $ 3,350,634. Can he lead the Beers to their first championship in men’s basketball history?