James Dickey has resigned as coach of the Houston Cougars due to "private family matters," the school announced in a statement Monday, and ESPN.com sources say Houston Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson is being targeted as Dickey's replacement.
Sampson was fired from Indiana in 2008 and hit with a five-year show cause by the NCAA after being caught making impermissible phone calls. He has since worked as an assistant in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks and Rockets. Sampson has also been involved with NBA head coaching jobs.
However, sources close to Sampson told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman that he misses the college game and is interested in the opening. One holdup, though, could be compensation.
Sampson, 58, has been a Division I college head coach at three stops -- Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana. He took Washington State to the NCAA tournament in 1994, then went to 11 NCAA tourneys in 12 seasons at Oklahoma -- including a Final Four in 2002 -- and was at Indiana for two seasons before being fired.
Dickey had a 64-62 record in four seasons at Houston, including a 20-13 mark in 2012-13. The Cougars were 17-16 this season, including a 3-4 record against Top 25 teams.
"This has been a difficult decision to make," Dickey said in a statement released by the school. "I continually preach to my players about being an everyday guy, and the balance of your personal and professional life is a major part of it.
"With that being said, I have a family matter that requires my time and energy, and I will regretfully step down from my current position at the University of Houston. ... I would like to thank the Houston fans for their support through the years and greatly encourage them to continue their support of the program in the future."
Earlier Monday, athletic director Mack Rhoades said a search for a coach would begin immediately.
"Coach Dickey is not only a great person and coach but a great mentor for all of our student-athletes and entire staff," Rhoades said in a statement. "He made so many of us in our department better. No one has worked harder than Coach Dickey. ... He will be missed greatly."
ESPN college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman contributed to this report.