Beginning at Oxford Middle School, Sam began learning to vault and posted a best mark of 8'6" as a 7th grader. Sam progressed to 11' as an 8th grader, 12'6 (9th), 13'7 (10th), 15'4 (11th) and 17' as a senior. Sam wasn't recruited heavily but signed with Ole Miss his senior year. Sam's father and coach would take a position as pole vault coach with Ole Miss so that Sam's consistency of training could continue.
In his 3 years at Ole Miss, Sam Kendricks was a 5-time NCAA All-American. Before coming out of the NCAA at the end of his Junior year, Sam won the NCAA Outdoor Championship (2) times. His Junior year, Sam won SEC, NCAA and USA Championships. The last NCAA athlete to accomplish this feat was Lawrence Johnson at Tennessee in 1996. Sam has also been NCAA runner-up indoors in 2014 as well as 3rd at NCAA indoors in 2013. In '13 Kendricks became the 5th NCAA athlete to ever jump over 19' when he won Texas Relays with a mark of 19'3/4" and is currently the #6 All-time performer in the NCAA Outdoors. Sam is also in the top 10 all-time Indoors. In 2013, Sam also won the World University Games Championship in Kazan, Russia. In the fall of his senior year, Sam signed with Nike and Hartwig Dynamic Sports. As a rookie professional in 2015, Sam claimed both indoor and outdoor USA Titles and won a spot for the World Championship team in Beijing. In 2016 at age 23, , Sam repeated as USA Indoor Champion with a new personal best of 5,90 or 19' 4 1/4" and also placed second at the IAAF World Indoor at 5,80 or 19'1/4"!
At the Olympic Trials, Sam set a new Meet Record of 5.91. He followed that up with a bronze medal in the Rio Olympics! Sam was also the first American male vaulter to win a Diamond League Meeting. Sam won 3 in 2016 at Shanghai, Lausanne and Zurich. Sam vaulted 19' or higher in 13 meets in 2016.
Sam still trains at Oxford High School and at the Ole Miss Manning Center.