BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Leave it to the basketball Gods to have Houston and Auburn meeting in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday night at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
Part of the legacies of the two coaches is restoring great programs of the past.
“I admire how hard and physically and tough, physically and mentally, Kelvin Sampson's teams always play," said Auburn’s Bruce Pearl.
"Bruce, his enthusiasm for life, his passion for helping kids, his ability to coach,” Houston’s Kelvin Sampson later said about Pearl. “Bruce is a really, really good coach. Bruce is one of those guys that never has a bad day. Upbeat, positive. You know, just a good guy."
Each one’s right-hand man? His son. The Sampsons – Kelvin and Kellen – and the Pearls – Bruce and Steve – are just two of seven father-son coaching duos in Division I, according to the University of Houston.
Their enthusiasm doesn’t come with an on-off switch, either. Especially Sampson, who’s about five years older than Pearl.
“You know, I have never even seen the dude yawn," Houston guard Jamal Shead said of Sampson.
Both are also among the active leaders in coaching wins, as well.
One wears red. The other wears orange.
But there is a strong resemblance.
“Well, Kelvin and I, if I cut my hair a little shorter, a little darker, and I get my suntan going,” joked Pearl. "He and I resemble each other quite a bit, and we've always said that, you know, if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, just tell them you're Bruce Pearl. No one will know the difference.”
Watching the Coogs or any other team with an antenna? KHOU 11 has upgraded its technology and is broadcasting on both VHF and UHF. Tune in on either 11.1 or 11.11.