Sampson brings in assistants with Indiana ties
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kelvin Sampson may have alleviated one criticism Thursday by hiring two longtime Indiana natives -- Ray McCallum and Jeff Meyer -- as assistant coaches.
When the Hoosiers hired Sampson last month, some alums were upset that the university did not bring in someone with prior connections to the state or program. Now, Sampson has two assistants with Indiana ties -- and experience at the college level.
"I want a staff that could relate to young people, understand our values that our program will have and that will not only serve as a source of motivation but also guide young men to become better players, better students and better people," Sampson said in a written statement. "These two guys will be tremendous representatives of our program and our university."
McCallum follows Sampson from Oklahoma to Indiana, a state in which he won back-to-back state titles at Muncie Central in 1978 and 1979. He graduated from Ball State in 1983 as the Mid-American Conference's career scoring leader and was the first Cardinals player to have his jersey retired.
In 1993, McCallum returned to his alma mater as head coach, posting a 126-76 record while becoming the first coach in Ball State history to record seven straight winning seasons.
To McCallum, it feels like a homecoming.
"When I was a kid, I was a basketball camper at Indiana, and now to be here working under a great head coach in coach Sampson gives me a lot of pride," he said.
McCallum left Ball State in 2000, then spent four seasons at Houston before joining Sampson's staff at Oklahoma.
McCallum also has Big Ten experience. From 1984-93, he worked as an assistant at Wisconsin, then spent one season as an assistant at Michigan before taking over at Ball State.
Meyer, too, has established connections in Indiana.
He grew up in Reynolds, graduated from Taylor University in Upland, spent two seasons as an assistant at Purdue under Lee Rose and was an assistant for three seasons as an assistant at Butler where he was instrumental in the Bulldogs 2002 run to the regional semifinals.
He spent the last two seasons at Missouri.
In his two seasons at Purdue, Meyer helped the Boilermakers claim a share of the 1979 Big Ten title and reach the 1980 Final Four. Then he followed Rose to South Florida.
Meyer also spent 16 seasons as the head coach at Liberty University where he went 250-206 and was twice named the conference coach of the year as Liberty jumped from the NAIA to NCAA Division I.
Meyer also served as associate head coach at Winthrop when the Eagles won three straight Big South titles and made three straight NCAA appearances.
But he, too, is glad to be coming home.
"We not only know, but truly understand the importance of Indiana basketball in the lives of Hoosiers," he said. "I look forward to being a part of creating more memories, while also adding to the nationally recognized tradition of IU basketball."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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