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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Bobby Champagne Joins Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Staff
UPDATED: October 5, 2021 -- 4:20 p.m. CT
Tuesday afternoon, Kelvin Sampson, Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Head Coach, announced longtime coaching veteran Bobby Champagne has joined the University of Houston Men's Basketball program as its director of operations and basketball strategy.
This will be the third school at which Champagne has worked for Sampson. He previously served as Sampson's coach at Oklahoma from 1994 to 1997 and at Washington State from 1991 to 1994.
In their years together, Sampson and Champagne have combined for 118 wins with five postseason appearances, including four NCAA Tournaments.
In his new role with the Cougars, Champagne will work closely with Sampson and the coaching staff. His primary responsibilities include scheduling games, coordinating team travel, managing the program's budget, organizing day-to-day schedules and other operational duties. He also serves as liaison for the program to the Athletics Department and the University.
"Bobby is a basketball guy and is somebody I have always had great respect for. I know how good he is, how smart he is and how tough he is. He fits our culture." Sampson said. "Culture starts at the top and goes all the way down. Everybody in our program has to fit the culture we created here; and, Bobby is a great fit for us."
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Champagne comes to Houston after serving as the head coach at Tharptown High School in Russellville, AL.
From 2003 to 2018 he served as the head coach at North Alabama. During that time, he compiled a 245-194 record with four NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight berth in 2008.
His 2008 squad won the NCAA Division II South Regional championship and the Gulf South Conference Tournament as he was recognized as the South Region Coach of the Year by the NCAA.
In addition to his work with Sampson at Washington State and Oklahoma, Champagne also served as an assistant coach at UTEP (2002-03), Georgia State (2001-02) and Louisiana (1997-01).
Champagne replaces Meshu Negga, who recently accepted a position as director of basketball operations with the Utah Jazz G League's Salt Lake City Stars.
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