LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Doc Sadler was hired on Wednesday as the director of basketball operations at Kansas, where he will rejoin the Big 12 after spending one season coaching in the Big Ten.
Sadler replaces Barry Hinson, who served as Kansas coach Bill Self’s director of basketball operations the past two seasons. Hinson was recently hired as head coach at Southern Illinois.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity to have a chance to get back into college basketball,” Sadler said in a statement announcing his hiring. “When making decisions, I really thought I would sit out this year, but when this came along I don’t think anyone would ever pass it up.”
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Sadler rose to prominence at Texas-El Paso, where he took over for Billy Gillispie and put together consecutive 20-win seasons. That earned him the tall order of rebuilding Nebraska, and for a while it appeared he was headed in the right direction.
The Huskers went 17-14 his first season, and went 20-12 his second, getting passed over for the NCAA tournament but advancing to the second round of the NIT.
Nebraska never managed to get much better, though, falling to 15-18 and just 2-14 in the Big 12 within two years. They were 19-13 the year before departing the Big 12 for the Big Ten.
The Huskers didn’t fare much better in their new conference.
Nebraska struggled to a 12-16 finish and won only four Big Ten games last season, bowing out of the conference tournament with a 79-61 loss to Purdue in the first round.
Sadler has a career coaching record of 269-146, including a 149-107 in eight seasons at the Division I level. He’s reached the postseason nine times at his various stops.
“I’ve known Doc for 25 years and have certainly followed his career,” Self said. “Watching his career at UTEP and seeing and competing against him when he was at Nebraska sold me on his ability for him to come in here and make us better.”
The Jayhawks experienced a fair amount of roster turnover late in the season.
Just after Hinson announced he was leaving for Southern Illinois, assistant coach Danny Manning revealed that he would be taking over at Tulsa. Both announcements came during the Final Four in New Orleans, where the Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the national title game.
Self has already hired Florida assistant coach Norm Roberts to take Manning’s spot on the bench. Roberts had previously spent nine seasons on Self’s staffs at Kansas, Illinois, Tulsa and Oral Roberts, and his son Niko is a sophomore guard for the Jayhawks.
“Very few programs in the country have the experience that our staff will have,” Self said. “I’m excited. My batteries are charged and I know he’s ready to get to work July 1.”