USM hires Doc Sadler to be next head coach

Since Donnie Tyndall left for Tennessee last week, Southern Miss Athletic Director Bill McGillis has been searching for his replacement as the head men’s basketball coach.

News broke Tuesday night that Southern Miss had offered the job to Stephen F. Austin State University head coach Brad Underwood (SFA), whom many believed would accept the job.

However, that is no longer the case.  Underwood has decided to turn down the position and stay with Stephen F. Austin.  “Coach Underwood has indicated to me that he will remain a Lumberjack,” SFA Athletic Director Robert Hill said in a press release.

With Underwood no longer in the mix, USM set its sights on Iowa State assistant coach Doc Sadler and landed their second choice.  Sadler was officially hired Wednesday night to be the next head coach of the Golden Eagles.

McGillis called Sadler a perfect match for Southern Miss.  “(Sadler is) universally regarded by the greatest coaches in the country as an outstanding head coach,” McGillis said.

Tyndall even weighed in and said he was happy for his former players and that Sadler will do huge things in Hattiesburg.

Sadler emerged as the favorite Wednesday afternoon considering he has the most head coaching experience with stops at three other schools: Arkansas-Fort Smith, UTEP and Nebraska.

In his two seasons at UTEP, who are one of USM’s biggest competitors in Conference USA, Sadler compiled a 48-18 record including 25-7 in conference play.  His best season as head coach came in 2004-05 when he led the Miners to the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 27-8 record.

While his six-year span at Nebraska is not nearly as impressive with a 101-89 combined record, he was facing much stiffer competition in the Big 12 and later the Big Ten.

The surprise hiring would have been Ladner who has ties to USM dating back to being a member of the 1987 NIT Championship team.  He was even considered a few years ago when Tyndall was eventually hired and was recently hired to be the head coach at Southeastern Louisiana University.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, some of the other candidates that USM was considering were Wichita State assistant Greg Heiar, Murray State assistant Steve Prohm and Southeastern head coach Jay Ladner.

The press conference introducing Doc Sadler as the new head coach will be take place Thursday at noon.