New Info In Kellen Sampson’s HCIW Contract


Kellen Sampson / Photo by Mario Puente

GoCoogs has received a copy of Kellen Sampson’s new contract with the University of Houston. The deal was finalized today and is not what we had expected.

The deal’s significance was to be that it named Kellen as “Head Coach In Waiting” (HCIW) and would mean that he becomes head coach when his father Kelvin Sampson steps down or retires.

Kellen signed the contract on Tuesday while Dr. Renu Khator and VP of Athletics Chris Pezman signed today. Kellen Sampson’s salary was bumped from $229,000 in the 2019-2020 season to $300,000 for each of the three years of the deal. The school promised the contract last April and the effective date was April 3, 2019, and runs until April 2, 2022.

The key part is the HCIW language. Kellen was given the title of HCIW which the contract points out, in the 1st paragraph, is a “functional title.” I have seen most major athletics contracts at UH in the last 20 years and have never seen this title or designation.

Contractually, Kellen was not given the actual title of HCIW. Kellen’s actual title, as written, is “Assistant Coach of UH’s Men’s Basketball Team.” And there is no penalty, financial or otherwise, attached if UH fails to name him HCIW. In effect, the HCIW designation is for show. UH is under no obligation contractually to name him the next men’s basketball coach.

Kellen’s new contract does require UH to pay his full base salary if he is let go without cause. His previous contract only provided for 50% of base salary.

If Kellen is named head coach or assistant coach of a “Power 5 school” then he is obligated to pay 100% of the base salary remaining.

If he is named head coach at a non-power 5 school, he will owe 50% of the base salary. It is unclear why the University decided to codify a difference in P5 and non-P5.

The key part is that the contract does not bind UH into an agreement to promote Kellen Sampon when Kelvin leaves. This had been a hang-up in discussions with the elder Sampson over the course of the 2018-19 season.

Kellen Sampson Contract PDF

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