One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for May 31, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
As a dad I am proud of my children. As a former athletic director I am proud of the coaches I either worked with or hired. As a former college basketball coach I am really proud of the men I got to coach and beam with pride in the accomplishments that many of them have achieved.
I have been fortunate to coach a lot of young men who have gone on to become doctors, college professors, lawyers, accountants, financial planners, authors, TV anchors, Secret Service agents, military officers, NFL administrators, and coaches. I am proud of all of them but really have a bias for those that have gone into coaching. One of those former players is Jeremy Sampson.
Jeremy Sampson grew up in Pembroke, NC and was one of four brothers. Each one of his siblings went on to participate in college athletics. His brother Ryan was a college football player, Jon Breck played basketball on the UNC JV Basketball team, and Jordan followed in his brother footsteps by playing basketball at UNC Pembroke.
(l-r) Jordan, Jeremy, Wanda, Ryan, and Jon Breck Sampson
I first met Jeremy when he was just starting hit school back in the mid 1980’s. I worked with Van Sampson of the Robeson County Recreation Department to create a Saturday morning recreation basketball league. I had my player’s ref and then tried to encourage those rec league youngsters to come out to one of our home games. One family that I got to know really well during that time was the Sampson family including Jeremy’s parents Wanda and Johnny. The Sampson took us up on the offer to attend games and Jeremy and his brothers attend a lot of Pembroke basketball games. In addition to the Sampson coming to our games they would invite my oldest son over to their home to play basketball in the driveway. My son Geoff was close in age to Jeremy’s brother Jordan.
In 1988 Jeremy graduated from what was then called West Robeson HS (today Purnell Swett HS) and we signed him to a scholarship. Jeremy wasn’t ready to play right away so he was red-shirted during the 1989 season. He then played four seasons 1990-1993 for the Braves and was a great shooter with range. He was on some special teams.
1989-1990 Pembroke State Team celebrating victory in Marriott Classic-Jeremy #30 far left
After graduating from college Jeremy did a lot of interesting things before returning to his alma mater in 2010 to become the head basketball coach for Purnell Swett. He had previously been to Japan as a teacher and coach. He also played some semi-professional basketball along with assisting Ben Miller at UNCP as an assistant basketball coach in 2008.
(l-r) Jeff Davis, Dan Kenney, and Jeremy Sampson-UNCP Football Game 2014
I know that the young men he is coaching today on the high school level are being mentored to become leaders and to value the importance of education. Jeremy got that from his parents especially his mom Wanda.
The Friend-JEREMY SAMPSON
The Friend of a Friend-WANDA SAMPSON
It takes a special women to raise boys and it takes a really special women to raise four of them. That is what Wanda Sampson did along with her late husband Johnny in Pembroke, NC. The four of them today are all successful and all pass on a trait that was instilled in them by their mom. Education is important.
Wanda today can still be found around educational and sporting settings. She has active grandchildren that sports are important to. She has seen her sons get married or engaged to active women. Wanda Sampson just cannot escape being around active minded sport loving people.
(l-r) Jordan and Jessica Collins Sampson children after Jessica finished running in a 5K.
When I get to be around any of the Sampson boys I can always look at them and know without any reservation that they are who they are today because of the influence they received from their parents.
If you live in our community you can see that the Wanda Sampson power of influence is alive and well. Her values on the importance of education and the valuable lessons you can learn from sports lives on thru her sons and grandchildren.
Even though Jeremy is a pretty good coach he has got a ways to go in catching what his mom did with her team of four sons.