It didn’t take long before Doc Sadler figured out he’d have to coach again.
Recruiting season started in July and Sadler missed the grind. Players hit the practice floor soon after that and Sadler was stirring about, contemplating if he could ever get completely comfortable as Kansas’ director of operations.
He couldn’t. By October, he knew it.
And that’s why Sadler is now at Iowa State, a move announced by the school Friday. He’ll join Fred Hoiberg’s staff as an assistant.
“I spent a year where I couldn’t recruit and wasn’t able to get on the floor and coach — and I realized how much I missed it,” Sadler said. “It’s just the relationships. There’s nothing like coaching players.”
Sadler never lost the urge to coach, though he didn’t mind working a season under Bill Self. Sadler joined Kansas’ staff soon after getting fired by Nebraska, where he was 101-89 (.532) during six seasons.
Sadler was seen on TV regularly on the Jayhawks’ bench — he’d typically appear focused but rarely overstressed, often holding a clipboard, never too far from Self. There’s a YouTube clip of Sadler knocking down a halfcourt shot after a pregame practice at West Virginia, where KU would later extend a winning streak to 18. Kansas reached the Sweet 16 in March.
“Probably about as fun a year of basketball as I had in a long time,” Sadler said.
But he needed more.
So working with Hoiberg at Iowa State made sense to Sadler. He’s looking forward to learning about Hoiberg’s philosophies, specifically on offense. Hoiberg runs a system that Sadler said he’s never been around.
Hoiberg’s apparently glad to have a veteran on board. In addition to his time at NU, Sadler served as an assistant at Texas Tech from 1991 to 1994.
“Doc brings a wealth of experience to our staff and is respected in the profession,” Hoiberg said in a statement. “His Big 12 coaching experience and extensive recruiting background will help on the road and make him a very valuable member of our staff.”
Sadler fills the opening left by T.J. Otzelberger, who left this month for a similar position at Washington.
Perfect timing for Sadler. He said he was grateful for the opportunity at Kansas, specifically encouraged by the way Self treated people. Sadler, 52, values those personal bonds with others, and he’s thrilled to be able to form new ones.
“Don’t get me wrong: I realized how fortunate and lucky I was, but at the same time, I’m a coach. I want to coach,” Sadler said. “Maybe if I was younger and I had a lot of years left, I’d look at it a little bit different.”
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