BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – When Dane Fife's path first crossed with Kelvin Sampson at the 2002 Final Four in Atlanta, little did he know that four years later Sampson would be tabbed to coach his alma mater.
Indiana is expected to introduce Sampson as its next head coach at a 4 p.m. press conference Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation about who would replace Mike Davis. A 23-year college head coach, Sampson comes to IU after spending the last 12 years at Oklahoma, where he compiled a 279-109 record and earned 11 NCAA Tournament invitations.
Fife, who recently completed his first season as the head coach at IPFW, was consulted during the IU coaching search about the characteristics the next Hoosier coach should have, and he thinks Sampson is a good fit.
"The one question they asked me was, ‘what type of qualities do you see in an IU coach?'" Fife said. "I think Kelvin Sampson exemplifies what I would envision. He's been to the tournament 11 out of 12 times, he knows how to recruit the personnel it takes to get to the NCAA Tournament.
"He's a good coach. I don't know him as a person, but all indications are he's a good person as well."
Sampson is also expected to bring an approach to the game that is hard-nosed.
"I think the majority of the people that talked with the search committee, in terms of alumni and former players talked about toughness, and that's something Kelvin Sampson has," Fife said.
Fife witnessed that in the 2002 national semifinal, a game Indiana won, 73-64, to advance to the NCAA Championship game against Maryland. While Oklahoma did lose the game, Fife was impressed with what he witnessed from Sampson's team.
"The one thing I can tell you is his kids played the game the right way, they acted the right way and they competed their tails off," Fife said.
Fife Offers Thoughts On Sampson Hiring
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