Fred Hoiberg finds ‘right mix’ — and plenty of experience — with first Husker coaching staff

Fred Hoiberg finds ‘right mix’ — and plenty of experience — with first Husker coaching staff
Fred Hoiberg's first Husker coaching staff is now official. THE WORLD-HERALD

LINCOLN — Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg officially announced the hiring of his three assistant coaches on Friday.

Hoiberg’s first staff will include former NU head coach Doc Sadler, 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.”

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

Hoiberg hired Abdelmassih as an intern while they were both with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the late 2000s.

“Matt came in and 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.”

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

Sadler was hired Nebraska’s head 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 following 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 Miss 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.”

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.”