Bearkats Highlights

General Information

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Western Athletic Conference (2021-present)
Past Conferences: Southland
City: Huntsville, Texas
Stadium: Bernard Johnson Coliseum


  • NCAA Tournaments: 2 (2003, 2010)
  • Championships: National Championships: None
  • Conference Tournament Titles: 2 (2003, 2010)
  • Conference Regular Season Titles: 4 (2000, 2003, 2010, 2019)

Sam Houston Bearkats Team History

The Sam Houston Bearkats are a Division I team based in Huntsville, Texas. Before joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2021, Sam Houston had competed in the Southland Conference.

Sam Houston has made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, most recently in 2010 when they lost in the first round to third-seeded Baylor, 68-59. The Bearkats went 25-8 that year and won Southland regular season and tournament titles, much like when they made their initial trip to the Big Dance in 2003. They also lost in the first round that year, 85-55 to No. 2 seed Florida.

Despite their limited experience in the NCAA Tournament, Sam Houston has been one of the country’s better low-majors. The Bearkats have finished at or above .500 every year but twice this century, with 11 20-win seasons during that span.

Last Southland Championship

The Bearkats won their last Southland championship in 2019, going 16-2 in conference play and 21-12 overall. They wound up in the National Invitational Tournament after falling in the conference semifinals and lost 82-69 to TCU. In 2021, Sam Houston — along with Abilene Christian, Lamar and Stephen F. Austin — joined the WAC, ending a 34-year tenure in the Southland.

While in the Southland, Sam Houston also made four trips to the Tournament (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018), including a run to the semifinals in 2018, when they won 21 games.

Before that, the school played in the 1973 NAIA Tournament and 1986 NCAA Division II Tournament.
Sam Houston have been coached for the last decade-plus by Jason Hooten. The former Bearkats assistant took over before the 2010-11 season, when Bob Marlin left to coach Louisiana. Hooten has guided the Bearkats to five 20-win seasons and an overall winning percentage north of .600.

The Bearkats carried modest odds into the 2022-23 season, as they were ranked tied for sixth in the WAC preseason media poll.

Sam Houston Bearkats All-Time Records

Points Scored

  •  Jeremy Burkhalter: 1,689
  • Derrick Preston: 1,451
  • David Amaya: 1,445


  • Ryan Bright: 967
  • Michael Holyfield: 769
  • David Amaya: 628


  • Boney Watson: 569
  • Ashton Mitchell: 566
  • Tim Keyes: 384

Sam Houston Bearkats FAQs

Who holds Sam Houston’s single-season scoring record?

Gilberto Clavell scored a program-record 603 points in 2010-11, earning Southland Conference Player of the Year honors.

What was the worst season in Sam Houston program history?

The 1991-92 Bearkats won just one game in conference play and were 2-25 overall. Their only victories came against Mississippi Valley State and Louisiana-Monroe.

Jason Hooten is the winningest coach in Sam Houston program history? Who ranks second?

That’d be Hooten’s predecessor, Bob Marlin, who went 225-131 from 1999-10 and guided the Bearkats to their only two NCAA Tournament appearances.


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