comes home to Pembroke
Sampson was genuinely pleased to be home in Pembroke and The University
of North Carolina at Pembroke.
"I never thought
I would be a distinguished speaker," Sampson told an audience of
more than 500 on April 28 at the Givens Performing
Arts Center. "I never thought I would be distinguished. I'm
Sampson, a 1978
graduate and head basketball coach at Oklahoma University, was the final
speaker in UNCP's Distinguished Speaker Series.
"I take representing
Pembroke and UNCP very seriously," he said.
Appearing very comfortable
on his home court, Sampson mixed stories of his family and growing up
in Pembroke with the lessons he has learned in 26 years as a head coach.
And, he offered inspiration.
"As you grow
older, you go from having heroes to having people who inspire you,"
the 46-year-old coach said. "I challenge everyone in this room
to find someone to inspire you and find a way to inspire someone else."
Sampson and his
teams have been accused of being overachievers after building one of
top programs in the nation without the benefit of waves of blue-chip
"I don't like
the word over achieve. Don't ever tell me my teams overachieve,"
he said. "If you're successful, you've live up to your ability
don't want to have great teams," he said. "We want to have
a great program."
Sampson's team has
won three straight Big 12 Conference tournament championships and is
invited to the NCAA tournament every year. But he said he has learned
more lessons from losing than winning.
At his first head
coaching stop at Montana Tech, his first two teams went 5-22 and 4-23.
called me up to congratulate me for taking Montana Tech from obscurity
to oblivion," Sampson laughed. Heathcote was the Michigan State
coach who gave the young college graduate from Pembroke his first coaching
step up the ladder of success is failure," he said. "It's
nothing to be ashamed of."
at Montana, and his next stop was in the PAC 10 at Washington State.
job in the PAC 10 is Washington State," he said. "Any team
that would hire a 24-year-old Native American as its coach has to be
in bad shape."
first team went 1-17 in PAC 10 play.
really that bad. We just weren't good enough to win," he said.
"Of all the things that have happened to me, that was the best."
know how to handle adversity," Sampson said. "People who can't
handle adversity, blame others."
Sampson said he
admires commitment, unselfishness and teamwork in his players.
have a hard time being teammates," he said. "A very good player
will get you 15 points and 10 rebounds a night. A great player will
get you 15 points, 10 rebounds and will be your most popular player,
the kid of kid other players will go to when they're down."
getting your kids to understand teamwork, to be givers," Sampson
said. "I don't like people who were born on third base and think
they hit a triple. If your best player is your hardest worker, it will
be hard not to succeed."
people want things handed to them," the coach said. "Successful
people compete, not just play hard."
To the young people
of the audience, Sampson had this advice.
tell you it's tough for them," he said. "You can be anything
you want, but you can't be afraid to fail."
do extraordinary things," he said.
questions following the speech. During the day, he taped an interview
with WNCP, the university's broadcast program, and spoke with UNCP's
men's basketball team.
have been signed on for next year's Distinguished
Speaker Series, Today Show host Soledad O'Brien, Native American
Olympic champion Billy Mills and filmmaker Spike Lee. A fourth speaker
will be announced soon.
For more information
about the speaker series, contact the Office of Student
Activities at 910.521.6207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
to University Newswire