Doc Sadler left Southern Miss in position to compete in Conference USA and that means a healthy list of candidates will likely line up to replace him as the USM men’s basketball coach.
The Golden Eagles are coming off a 20-13 campaign that included an 11-7 conference mark that was good enough for a three-way tie for second place in C-USA. After winning just 20 games in Sadler’s first three years at USM, the Golden Eagles were 36-31 over the last two.
There are several coaches, including some familiar faces to people in South Mississippi, who seem likely to be considered by new USM athletic director Jeremy McClain:
▪ Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jay Ladner: The former St. Stanislaus head coach was a member of the 1987 Southern Miss team that claimed the NIT championship. He led Jones County Junior College to the 2014 NJCAA national championship with a record of 28-5.
Southeastern Louisiana is 76-88 in five years under Ladner, who is 53. The Lions reached the 2018 NIT with a record of 22-12 and finished the 2018-19 campaign 17-16 after starting the season with a 4-12 mark.
▪ Southern Miss assistant Steve Shields: USM’s resurgence under Sadler began after Shields joined the staff in 2017. Shields, who has also worked as an assistant at Missouri, was the head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock for 12 seasons from 2003-15. UALR was 192-178 with a trip to the 2011 NCAA Tournament under Shields.
▪ Southern Miss assistant Clarence Weatherspoon: The USM basketball legend joined Sadler’s staff as an assistant in August of 2016. His 2,130 career points rank second all-time at USM and he was a first-round draft choice by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1992. Weatherspoon was named the Metro Conference Player three times and led the Golden Eagles to a pair of NCAA Tournament bids in 1990 and 1991.
▪ LSU assistant Greg Heiar: The former Southern Miss assistant from 2009-11 just finished his second year as a member of the staff at LSU. He also had a six-year run at Wichita State that included a total of 179 wins by the Shockers. Prior to joining the USM staff, Heiar was the head coach at Chipola (Florida) Junior College.
▪ Former Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy: The native of Louisville, Mississippi, was the head coach at Ole Miss for 11 seasons, twice leading the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels also reached the NIT six times under Kennedy, who has a career record of 245-156. Kennedy served as the interim head coach at Cincinnati in 2005-06 with the Bearcats finishing 21-13 with a trip to the NIT.
▪ Former UNLV and New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies: In nine seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State, the Lobos were 198-111 with five NCAA Tournament bids. In three years at UNLV, the Runnin’ Rebels were 48-48 with no trips to the postseason. Menzies was fired after the 2018-19 season.
▪ North Texas associate head coach Ross Hodge: Regarded as one of the top recruiters outside of the high-resource conferences, Hodge joined on Larry Eustachy’s staff at USM prior to the 2011-12 season. He has since worked at Colorado State, Arkansas State and North Texas. Hodge was 146-24 in head coaching stints at Midland Junior College and Paris Junior College.