Fred Hoiberg

Fred Hoiberg's first Husker coaching staff is now official.

LINCOLN — Former Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler’s return as an assistant was one of three hirings announced Friday by new Husker coach Fred Hoiberg.

Sadler will be joined on the staff by former Tim Miles assistant Armon Gates and Matt Abdelmassih, who left his previous job at St. John’s to join Hoiberg in Lincoln.

Hoiberg will also have Bobby Lutz on staff as a special assistant to the head coach.

Including Lutz, Hoiberg’s coaching staff will have 105 years of coaching experience.

“I am excited with the staff we have put together,” Hoiberg said in a press release. “I wanted to put together an experienced staff and saw how important that was in our past success. We wanted to get the right mix of coaches who can go out and recruit the players we need to be successful and also do a good job of teaching on the floor.”

Sign up for Big Red Today news alerts

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

Sadler will be Hoiberg’s defensive coach and the former head coach on the bench Hoiberg likes having. Sadler resigned as head coach at Southern Mississippi on Thursday.

Sadler was hired as NU coach in 2006. He spent six seasons in Lincoln and finished with a 101-89 record. He was fired by then-Athletic Director Tom Osborne after a 12-18 season in 2011-12.

Sadler was on Hoiberg’s Iowa State staff during the 2013-14 season. They’ve kept a close relationship since Sadler left Hoiberg’s staff for Southern Mississippi in 2014.

“In talking with Doc, you see that Nebraska is a special place for him, and I am excited to bring him back on staff,” Hoiberg said. “Doc was an instrumental part of our staff at Iowa State when we won our first Big 12 tournament title in 2014. Not only does he bring a wealth of experience and an extensive recruiting background, but he is a highly respected coach on the floor who will be valuable on our staff.”

Abdelmassih, who will be NU’s lead recruiter, was hired just days after Hoiberg signed a deal with Nebraska. He is known nationally as one of the game’s top recruiters, particularly of transfers.

Hoiberg hired him as an intern with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the late 2000s.

“I could tell right away how good he was,” Hoiberg said. “The most impressive thing about Matt is his ability to build relationships, and that is important at any level of basketball. He’s as good as I’ve ever seen in connecting with people, not only with kids, but with coaches and families, and that’s what makes him a great recruiter. I think Matt is as good of a recruiter as there is in the country.”

Gates, who has recruiting connections to Chicago and coaching experience in the Big Ten, was retained by Hoiberg after helping solidify the commitment of Omaha-area signee Akol Arop. Gates was hired by Tim Miles in May 2018.

Before coming to Lincoln, Gates spent five years as an assistant at Northwestern.

“I’ve been impressed with Armon as I’ve gotten to work with him over the past week,” Hoiberg said. “He’s been good on the floor with our players during workouts and gives our staff someone who has experience with both our current players and of the Big Ten.”

Lutz was on the 2010-11 Iowa State staff with Hoiberg and Abdelmassih. Lutz, 61, brings 37 years of coaching experience, including 12 years as the head coach at Charlotte.

“Bobby was my first hire when I got to Ames, and I relied on him during my first year of coaching,” Hoiberg said. “He has an unbelievable basketball mind and is a great sounding board for me with his experience as a head coach. Bobby’s basketball knowledge and expertise will be a great resource for our staff.”

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email:

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.