UH basketball coach Kelvin Sampson launches massive effort to help in Houston crisis

James Harden, left, and Kelvin Sampson(Getty)
James Harden, left, and Kelvin Sampson(Getty)

HOUSTON – One idea that was written on the back of an envelope by University of Houston Head Basketball Coach Kelvin Sampson led to a tweet that has now gone viral.

Sampson, along with all of Houstonians, has been affected by the damage delivered by Hurricane Harvey.   His tweet, a plea to all college coaches on all levels, simply was a request for items to send back to his office.  Since it went out Monday, the response has been overwhelming.

“We’ve had people donate trucks and volunteers step forward,”  Sampson told KPRC Channel 2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy. “We’ve had football, basketball, golf, lacrosse and many other teams respond.  I’m getting calls and texts from coaches and they all ended by asking, 'How can we help?'”

More than 1.5 million people have viewed the tweet by Sampson, and he says shipments are on the way from the likes of Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina to as far away as Ottawa, Canada along with his alma mater UNC-Pembroke.



“We are over 600 schools and will likely wind up with  25,000 to 40,000 t-shirts and 10,000 to 15,000 pairs of shoes,” Sampson said. “Companies texted saying, 'We don’t have shirts and shoes, but we have portable phone chargers,  phone cards , toothpaste and toothbrushes and many other items.”

Sampson says the  items will begin arriving later this week.

“We are going to be able to help a lot of people, and that’s all that matters,” Sampson added. 

“Really it felt like every minute was a new commitment coming in from a coach and to be honest I got a little emotional.  I was so proud of the coaches across the country.  Everybody needed an avenue and directions.  That tweet became a GPS.”