May 6, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss men's basketball coach Doc Sadler announced the hiring of three members of his coaching staff this afternoon.
Sadler has hired Chris Croft as Director of Basketball Operations, retained Jareem Dowling and hired Jeremy Cox as assistant coaches.
"When looking for a staff, I searched for people who, first and foremost, were great people," said Southern Miss head coach Doc Sadler. "I wanted a staff who were great recruiters, especially in the Southeast and in Mississippi. But, most importantly, I wanted people who wanted to be at Southern Miss."
Croft is no stranger to Southern Miss, having earned his bachelor's degree from USM in 1995. He served as a student assistant under M.K. Turk before being named as a graduate assistant coach in 1995.
Croft served under Sadler for one year at UTEP as program specialist before joining Sadler at Nebraska as his Director of Basketball Operations.
Croft broke into the coaching profession as an undergraduate student assistant at East Central (Miss.) CC in 1991-93. While at ECCC, he was part of a state championship team and the squad made two regional tournament appearances.
Once joining Southern Miss, Croft helped the Golden Eagles to two NIT appearances before moving to the Big 12 under Coach Eddie Sutton in an administrative position at Oklahoma State before the 1996-97 season. In two seasons with the Cowboys, Croft helped OSU to a pair of postseason appearances, including the second round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.
He moved on to Maryland Eastern Shore for one year as an assistant coach before spending four seasons (1999-2000 to 2002-2003) at Washington State.
Added Sadler, "I have known Chris for 15 years and he is a tireless worker. He is one of the best people I have ever worked with. I felt like it was important to get someone with Mississippi ties, and not only does Chris have them, but he is a graduate of Southern Miss.
Dowling has spent the last two years at Southern Miss under former head coach Donnie Tyndall. In his two years, Dowling helped Southern Miss to a school record 56 wins, two NIT appearances and last year's Conference USA regular-season Championship. Dowling assisted with all aspects of the program, including recruiting, practice/game preparation and player development.
"I talked to a lot of people around the program and in college basketball who had nothing but great things to say about Jareem," said Sadler. "I felt like it was important to keep some continuity among the staff and players, and Jareem is an excellent member to help with that. His recruiting prowess has helped Southern Miss have one of its best two-year stretches in school history, and I look forward to continuing that with him."
Jeremy Cox comes to Southern Miss after spending last year as the head coach of perennial Junior College power, the College of Southern Idaho. Cox led the Golden Eagles to a 27-5 record, ranking 10th in the NJCAA poll. He led CSI to the Scenic West Athletic Conference title and a runner-up finish in the Region 18 Tournament, while being named Region 18 Coach of the Year.
Cox has 22 years of coaching experience, including 11 as a Division I assistant and eight as a junior college head coach. He won the NJCAA National Championship in 2006 at Arkansas-Fort Smith and has made four NCAA Division I postseason appearances.
Prior to CSI, Cox coached under Billy Gillespie at Texas Tech 2012-13, who he also coached with at Texas A&M and Kentucky. He previously coach under Sadler during the 2011-12 season at Nebraska after spending two years at South Florida.
In all, Cox has coach 10 players that have reached the NBA.
Cox and his wife, Cindy, have a son, Austin and a daughter, Kaili.
"I've known Jeremy for 25 years," said Sadler. "I've worked with him on two different occasions. He is one of the best basketball minds in the business. He has recruiting ties throughout the country, having worked at both the Division I and junior college ranks."