When University of Southern Mississippi basketball coach Doc Sadler found himself with an opening on his staff this summer, he was able to turn to a veteran of the collegiate ranks.
Sadler announced Tuesday that former University of Arkansas-Little Rock coach Steve Shields had joined the Golden Eagles as an assistant coach.
Shields will take the slot of Chris Croft, who left to take a position as assistant professor in USM’s sports management department.
Shields, who became UALR’s winningest coach in his 12 seasons as head coach in Little Rock (2003-04/2014-15) , spent the past two years as an assistant at the University of Missouri.
All told, Shields has coached basketball for nearly 30 years at the collegiate and junior college ranks.
“We’re excited to add someone with the experience that Steve has,” Sadler said in a statement. “I’ve known Steve for more than 25 years and he will bring a lot to our table.”
Shields led the Trojans to five Sunbelt Conference divisional crowns and an appearance in the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
“I’m excited to be here and be part of Doc’s staff,” Shields said. “I’ve known Doc a long time and I’ve always respected him very much. He’s a heck of a coach, and I can’t wait to get started with this program.”
Shields earned two degrees from Baylor University, a bachelor’s in education in 1988 and a master’s in education in 1992.
Three seniors, forwards Quinton Campbell and Raheem Watts and guard Michael Ramey, graduated from USM’s 9-22 team of 206-17. Two others from that squad, junior guards Bilal Abdur Raheem and Robert Thomas III, also have left the team or transferred.
The Golden Eagles welcome five new faces to the court this year, including junior transfer guards Dominic Magee (Memphis/Grand Canyon) and Tyree Griffin (Oklahoma State); junior college redshirt guard Anfernee Hampton (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College); junior forward signee Boban Jacodonmi (Chattanooga State Community College); and freshman guard signee LaDavius Draine (Calhoun City High School).