Kevin Sampson, the Hornets offensive assistant football coach, is currently coaching his 23 season although he has been around the Hornets football team for over 50 years. His father had coached with Hal Sherbeck, who was the most winning coach in junior college football history, so he grew up around coaches and was a ball boy back in the ‘60s.
After high school, Sampson accepted a congressional nomination to the U.S. Air Force Academy but after a year he decided to return to the Fullerton College football family as a quarterback.
He went on to attend Long Beach State with a football scholarship and during his senior year in 1982 played at the national conference game.
Sampson started teaching at Fullerton College as a substitute P.E. teacher in 1990 and is now an Administration of Justice instructor. He has been coaching the Hornets since 1992 and for some time got to coach alongside his father, Marv Sampson.
Working with the football team is personal enjoyment for Sampson, he sees the change student athletes go through as they enter the school during their teenage years and become more mature as they enter young adulthood.
“Football is an unusual game, it requires a tremendous amount of intensity,” said Sampson. He described it as a collision sport rather than contact sport wherein the athletes not only fear the result of the game, but also their personal health and safety.
One important part of the job for Sampson is the connection between student athletes, sacrificing and striving to succeed. The sport is not just about winning and losing but rather working together to succeed.
“There is a parallel between the military and student athletes,” said Sampson. They have the responsibility of schoolwork and sports also require time and effort, making time management a skill they have to learn. “You tip your hat off to them,” he said.
“Education is most important other than family,” Sampson said. “Education is the lightning rod to dreams.” He hopes that students not only complete their degree but also take their coursework and interaction seriously.
Social responsibility is also something that he hopes his students learn. He hopes to inspire “wanting of being socially responsible” in his students and for them to understand the needs of others.
The basis of a team is to cooperate for success, developing a family atmosphere is something that the team does and with every new season they have to start over.
Fullerton College has a football program that students from around the country now participate in. Being involved in the historical tradition of football and mentoring some of the best quarterbacks is something that Sampson is proud of.
Last year, the Hornets were one of the best teams in the U.S. There was chaos, hugs and fights within the team but they worked together towards one goal and played in the national championship.
This year’s football team is a “young team but talented,” said Sampson. They have to put in effort and “help each other out as family members.”
You can see Sampson out at the football game, inspiring and leading every Saturday. The Hornets next game is at Riverside College Saturday at 6 p.m.