Sadler announces his departure from basketball program

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Men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler annouonced his resignation from Southern Miss on April 11. Photo by: Makayla Puckett

Southern Miss men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler announced Thursday that he is stepping down as the head coach of the program after five seasons.

Sadler said on Thursday that he no longer wants to be in the position as a head coach after 16 total years as one.

“At this time, I do not want to be a head coach,” Sadler said. “I don’t want the responsibility every day that it requires, I don’t want the responsibility of being the person who’s holding 13 players accountable in every area that there is.”

Multiple Nebraska media outlets have reported that Sadler is expected to rejoin the University of Nebraska as an assistant coach for newly hired head coach Fred Hoiberg, who was previously fired as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 2018. Sadler served as one of Hoiberg’s assistant coaches from 2013-2014 at Iowa State, where Hoiberg coached from 2010-2015.

“It’s been reported that I’m going to Nebraska and I’m going to tell you right now, that’s probably a good possibility,” Sadler said. “I’ll also tell you that my wife wanted me to take a year off and there’s some other things maybe that’s out there.”

Sadler added that he plans to leave Hattiesburg on Thursday to head to Nebraska and meet with Hoiberg and other Nebraska officials. Sadler was the head coach for the Cornhuskers from 2006-2012, where he posted a 101-89 record and led the program to three NIT tournament appearances.

Sadler was hired as Southern Miss’ head basketball coach in 2014 but was forced to deal with the NCAA sanctions from the Donnie Tyndall era, which lasted from 2012 to 2014. Sanctions included a two-year postseason ban as well as limits on scholarships. Next season will be the first season that Southern Miss will not have any restrictions on scholarships.

In his five seasons as head coach of the Golden Eagles, Sadler went 56-94 overall. In his final season, the team posted the best mark of his tenure at Southern Miss, going 20-13 overall and 11-7 in Conference USA while finishing second overall in the C-USA standings.

“I was here when he came on board,” incoming Southern Miss athletic director Jeremy McClain said. “We had no idea what was going to happen a few months later, and he didn’t ask for that. But he handled that with what I thought with class. He worked extremely hard to work through some of those challenges and put us back in solid footing.”

McClain, who was announced as athletic director just over a week ago, said that the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

“Apparently, I’m starting today,” McClain said. “We’re going to start this immediately-this afternoon that we’re going to start this process because the timing and the timeline is critical from a student-athlete perspective and a recruiting perspective. We’re well into April, so it’s a real critical time for us in basketball terms. I’m always hesitant to put an end date on a search because there are circumstances that happen that you just can’t control, but we’ll work hard to get this thing done in a timely matter. Hopefully in a 10-day period or so.”

National Signing Day for college basketball is April 17, and Southern Miss is projected to have four to six signees.

“I love coaching, there’s no question about that but I am in a position now to think it’s time for somebody else to be given the opportunity,” Sadler said. “More importantly the hardest thing about the deal is I really, really like the kids in this program. Southern Miss deserves something long-term. There have been through too many problems. I could have done it for two more years and I talked to Jeremy about it. Southern Miss needs somebody who’s committing to them for the next five, six, seven, eight years and if I’m going to ask my players to do that, then I should suit and I couldn’t do that.”