Houston's Sampson wins 2024 Henry Iba Award as National Coach of the Year

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson led the Cougars to the Big 12 Conference regular-season title with a 15-3 record in their debut season in the league using a frenetic defense to post a 30-win season and a top seed in the NCAA Tournament’s South Region. For leading his program to its fifth conference regular-season title in the last six seasons and a sixth straight NCAA Tournament, Sampson has been named the winner of the 2023-24 Henry Iba Award, given annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to its national coach of the year.

This is the second Henry Iba Award for Sampson, who also won it while coaching at Oklahoma in the 1994-95 season. He is the second Houston coach to earn the USBWA honor and the first in 56 seasons following Guy Lewis in 1967-68. Sampson will formally receive the award April 17 at the USBWA College Basketball Awards Banquet in St. Louis, hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club.

Sampson is the 10th multiple winner of the Henry Iba Award in its 66 seasons since the 1958-59 season. The 29-year span between Sampson’s honors is the longest in the history of the award, topping the 16 seasons between Roy Williams’ honors at North Carolina (2006) and Kansas (1990). He is only the third to do it at two different schools, joining Williams and Tony Bennett (at Washington State in 2007 and at Virginia in '15 and '18).

Sampson is the Big 12’s first Henry Iba Award honoree in 13 seasons since Missouri’s Frank Haith won it in 2011-12 and the league’s fourth overall since the Big 12 formed in the 1996-97 season. Sampson (1995) and Williams (1990 at Kansas) won their first awards when their schools were in the Big 8.

Houston (30-4), riding its fourth 30-win season under Sampson and the seventh in its history, has been No. 1 much of the season and ranked among the top seven teams in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Sports Coaches polls throughout the year. The Cougars, who own the nation’s longest active streak with three straight 30-win seasons, open the NCAA Tournament Friday in Memphis, Tenn., taking on 16th-seeded Longwood.

Known as one of the nation's elite defensive programs, the Cougars lead the country in scoring defense (57.0 ppg), field goal percentage defense (37.9) and turnover margin (+7.1) and stand among the Top 10 in scoring margin (+16.1, 3rd), winning percentage (88.2%), steals per game (10.0, 7th) and offensive rebounds per game (13.7, 10th). Houston was second in the Big 12 in steals (10.0 pg, tied for 7th nationally) and blocks (4.74 pg, 32nd nationally).

Houston point guard Jamal Shead is a top All-America candidate after becoming the first player in Big 12 history to collect Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season. The Manor, Texas, native stands second among the Cougars with 13.2 points per game and also leads Houston and ranks among the Big 12's top five in assists per game (6.2, 3rd), steals per game (2.3, 3rd) and assist-turnover ratio (3.14, 2nd). He's the only player to list among the nation's top 20 in all three categories. Shead was the USBWA's Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for Jan. 23.

Five other Cougars earned conference postseason awards. Senior guard LJ Cryer was named to the Big 12's Second Team while senior forward J'Wan Roberts earned a place on the Third Team. Sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp and junior forward Ja'Vier Francis received Honorable Mention with forward Joseph Tugler receiving honors on the All-Freshman Team.

Under Sampson, Houston has been ranked for a school-record 83 consecutive weeks and has ranked in each of the last 37 weeks in the Top 10, another program best.

Over his 35-year head-coaching career at Houston, Indiana, Oklahoma, Washington State and Montana Tech, Sampson has been named a national coach of the year seven times and guided every program he has led to multiple 20-win seasons during those stints. He has compiled a 762-348 career record with 19 NCAA Tournament appearances. He is one of only 15 coaches in NCAA history to lead 4-or-more schools to the NCAA Tournament and one of only 16 coaches to lead multiple schools to the NCAA Final Four.

This marks the third straight season in which Sampson has been named the conference coach of the year and the fifth time in the last seven years. During his career, Sampson has been named a conference coach of the year nine times in five different leagues – one Big 12 (2023-24), four American Athletic (2022-23, 2021-22, 2018-19 and 2017-18), one Big 8 (1994-95), one Pac-10 (1990-91) and two Frontier League (1984-85, 1982-83).

The Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the legendary coaching great at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) who won two NCAA championships and two gold medals and one silver as coach of the U S. Olympic teams. Iba held the dual position of basketball coach and athletic director until he retired in 1970. He was elected to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Missouri Hall of Fame, the Helms Foundation All-Time Hall of Fame for basketball, and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield, Mass. Henry Iba passed away in 1993 in Stillwater, Okla.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 800 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485. For additional info about covering the awards banquet, contact Jim Wilson with the MAC (314-539-4488).


2022-23: Shaka Smart, Marquette (Big East)
2021-22: Tommy Lloyd, Arizona (Pac-12)
2020-21: Juwan Howard, Michigan (Big Ten)
2019-20: Anthony Grant, Dayton (Atlantic 10)
2018-19: Rick Barnes, Tennessee (SEC)
2017-18: Tony Bennett, Virginia (ACC)
2016-17: Mark Few, Gonzaga (West Coast)
2015-16: Chris Mack, Xavier (Big East)
2014-15: Tony Bennett, Virginia (ACC)
2013-14: Gregg Marshall, Wichita State (Missouri Valley)
2012-13: Jim Larrañaga, Miami, Fla. (ACC)
2011-12: Frank Haith, Missouri (Big 12)
2010-11: Mike Brey, Notre Dame (Big East)
2009-10: Jim Boeheim, Syracuse (Big East)
2008-09: Bill Self, Kansas (Big 12)
2007-08: Keno Davis, Drake (Missouri Valley)
2006-07: Tony Bennett, Washington State (Pac-10)
2005-06: Roy Williams, North Carolina (ACC)
2004-05: Bruce Weber, Illinois (Big Ten)
2003-04: Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s (Atlantic 10)
2002-03: Tubby Smith, Kentucky (SEC)
2001-02: Ben Howland, Pittsburgh (Big East)
2000-01: Al Skinner, Boston College (Big East)
1999-00: Larry Eustacy, Iowa State (Big 12)
1998-99: Cliff Ellis, Auburn (SEC)
1997-98: Tom Izzo, Michigan State (Big Ten)
1996-97: Clem Haskins, Minnesota (Big Ten)
1995-96: Gene Keady, Purdue (Big Ten)
1994-95: Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma (Big 8)
1993-94: Charlie Spoonhour, Saint Louis (Great Midwest)
1992-93: Eddie Fogler, Vanderbilt (SEC)
1991-92: Perry Clark, Tulane (Metro)
1990-91: Randy Ayers, Ohio State (Big Ten)
1989-90: Roy Williams, Kansas (Big 8)
1988-89: Bob Knight, Indiana (Big Ten)
1987-88: John Chaney, Temple (Atlantic 10)
1986-87: John Chaney, Temple (Atlantic 10)
1985-86: Dick Versace, Bradley (Missouri Valley)
1984-85: Lou Carnesecca, St. John’s (Big East)
1983-84: Gene Keady, Purdue (Big Ten)
1982-83: Lou Carnesecca, St. John’s (Big East)
1981-82: John Thompson, Georgetown (Big East)
1980-81: Ralph Miller, Oregon State (Pac-10)
1979-80: Ray Meyer, DePaul (Independent)
1978-79: Dean Smith, North Carolina (ACC)
1977-78: Ray Meyer, DePaul (Independent)
1976-77: Eddie Sutton, Arkansas (Southwest)
1975-76: Johnny Orr, Michigan (Big Ten)
1974-75: Bob Knight, Indiana (Big Ten)
1973-74: Norm Sloan, N.C. State (ACC)
1972-73: John Wooden, UCLA (Pac-8)
1971-72: John Wooden, UCLA (Pac-8)
1970-71: John Wooden, UCLA (Pac-8)
1969-70: John Wooden, UCLA (Pac-8)
1968-69: Maury John, Drake (Missouri Valley)
1967-68: Guy Lewis, Houston (Independent)
1966-67: John Wooden, UCLA (AAWU)
1965-66: Adolph Rupp, Kentucky (SEC)
1964-65: Butch Van Breda Kolff, Princeton (Ivy League)
1963-64: John Wooden, UCLA (AAWU)
1962-63: Ed Jucker, Cincinnati (Missouri Valley)
1961-62: Fred Taylor, Ohio State (Big Ten)
1960-61: Fred Taylor, Ohio State (Big Ten)
1959-60: Pete Newell, California (AAWU)
1958-59: Eddie Hickey, Marquette (Independent)