Surprising Rumors of Doc Sadler Returning to UTEP Intensify
While UTEP continues to conduct their face-to-face interviews in Dallas, multiple sources have told 600 ESPN El Paso that a former Miners head coach could be the frontrunner for the vacancy. Doc Sadler, who served first as an assistant to Billy Gillispie and then replaced him as UTEP head coach for two seasons, is reportedly one of five finalists for the job. If the rumors are true, then the 60-year old could be headed back to El Paso to take over the Miners men's basketball program.
In the two seasons that Sadler was the head coach, the Miners went first to the NCAA Tournament and then the NIT. He compiled a 48-18 record, including a 25-7 mark in the WAC and C-USA. Omar Thomas, Stefon Jackson, Kevin Henderson, Maurice Thomas, Will Kimble, Marvin Kilgore, and Malik Alvin are some of the players that Sadler helped recruit while at UTEP. He also was instrumental in bringing players like Tony Battie, Jason Sasser, Darvin Ham, Lance Hughes, and Cory Carr to Texas Tech in the early 1990s, when he served as an assistant to James Dickey.
Following his successful run with UTEP, he left El Paso for Lincoln, Nebraska and he spent six seasons with the Cornhuskers. His record with Nebraska was 101-89, but 34-64 in conference play. His teams went to the NIT three times.
Sadler returned to the college head coaching ranks in 2014 when he took over at Southern Miss. Months after he was hired, the Golden Eagles self imposed sanctions from the prior head coach Donnie Tyndall, including a two year postseason ban. In 2016, the NCAA put them on probation for three years and they lost five scholarships over a three-year period. The job quickly became one of the worst in coaching and Sadler later admitted that it was the most challenging thing he has ever faced in college basketball. He spent a total of five seasons in Hattiesburg, where he complied a 56-94 mark (32-57 in C-USA). However, his teams were far better his final two seasons once probation had ended and Southern Miss went 20-13 in 2018-19, Doc's final season with the program. He went 5-4 against the Miners, including a 77-47 win at Reed Green Coliseum during his final game against UTEP in 2019.
Sadler stepped down as Southern Miss coach and has spent the last two seasons as Nebraska's assistant Head Coach for men's basketball. The Cornhuskers switched up roles on their coaching staff last week by adding former Iowa State assistant Nate Loenser as an assistant, while moving Sadler to the special assistant to the head coach.
UTEP is expected to name their new head coach by Wednesday. In addition to Sadler, NMSU head coach Chris Jans, Abilene Christian head coach Joe Golding, longtime Baylor assistant Jerome Tang, and Arkansas assistant David Patrick are reportedly also in the mix as finalists.