On Senior day, Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler stepped out onto the court wearing something he had not put on since January 19 against Old Dominion—a suit.
Sadler had dressed up and put on a suit for the Senior Day pictures. However, for those paying attention, including the players, everyone was forced to do a double take.
“I did the suit today because Mac Grubbs made a great point to me when I was talking to him,” Southern Miss coach Doc Sadler said. “‘You look a lot better in a suit’ and he is right, in a tie for the pictures. But I’ve gotten too comfortable coaching the way I am.”
When asked about it in the post-game press conference, senior Cortez Edwards did not realize it until the question was asked but senior Tyree Griffin caught it.
“I did [notice him change] and I said I know he isn’t going to keep that on,” Griffin said.
Sure enough, as tip-off was minutes away Sadler had returned in what has become a familiar look for him in just a Southern Miss t-shirt and slacks. The unusual fashion trend of not wearing a suit as a basketball coach has created a slew of questions for Golden Eagle fans and the players themselves.
“We noticed it after the UTEP game. A ref asked me ‘Who dressed Doc tonight?’ so that’s how I noticed it and ever since he’s been wearing the t-shirts with the slacks,” Griffin said. “I think it’s because of the seniors. He trusts the seniors. That’s what I think it is. All of us play so there isn’t really much that he can really say on the court because we’ve got four guys who could basically coach on the court.”
“I think it just means that he is more relaxed and more confident in the team he has,” Edwards said. “We’ve been making him proud and more calm. Most coaches have their own style so I guess that’s just his own style.”
It all started against Western Kentucky as the program participated in Coaches Versus Cancer to raise awareness for a healthier lifestyle and avoid cancer. Part of participating was for the head coaches to wear sneakers with their suits, but Sadler took it one step further and wore a t-shirt instead.
“Well the first game was the Coaches Versus Cancer and I have always wondered why coaches wear coat and ties,” Sadler said. “I mean I sweat a lot. I can’t tell you how many suits I’ve ruined and they are not cheap. Although most of them were given to me. If I had to buy them I guess I would’ve been wearing this a lot earlier.”
Since Sadler made his fashion change Southern Miss has gone 8-3 and the team has lost on average by four points in those three losses.
“I do have a lot of trust in them and you should with the number of senior we got,” Sadler said. “I’m not sure it makes me any less intense. At the same time if they are more comfortable seeing me this way because it’s how they seem me every day. It’s what I wear and I’m proud to have Southern Miss on my shirt.”
When asked how many suits Sadler may have ruined because of coaching, Sadler instead gave a different answer as to how most of his suits have faded away through the years.
“Well probably more because I got fat and I couldn’t wear them anymore because they are too tight,” Sadler said. “But the good news is I haven’t split any pants open like some coaches have this year.”
When Edwards and Griffin were asked if Sadler would wear a suit in the conference tournament, both players doubted if Sadler would make another change.
“Oh no, we’re going to have too many games. I don’t think so,” Edwards said.
“I’m going to tell him no,” Griffin said. “We’ve been winning without the suit.”
In fact, Sadler has no plan to go back to the suit.
“You know what I’m comfortable in it,” Sadler said. “I feel good in it so I’m going to wear it. Unless the president of the college or our athletic director mandates me to start wearing them. You will never see me in suits no more.”