The following is an official press release courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics.
Golden Eagle Legend Weatherspoon, Croft Named Assistant Men’s Basketball Coaches
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Southern Miss head men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler has announced the hiring of Golden Eagle legend Clarence Weatherspoon and previous Director of Operations Chris Croft to his 2016-17 coaching staff.
“I am excited about Chris and Spoon joining Southern Miss basketball as assistant coaches,” Sadler said. “In hiring new coaches, I wanted people that love teaching basketball and mentoring young people in life experiences and a staff that loves the University of Southern Mississippi.”
Both coaches are Southern Miss grads and natives of the state, with Weatherspoon hailing from Crawford while Croft, who also received his master’s from the university, came south from Louisville.
Weatherspoon’s No. 35 jersey is the only one retired in program history. His 2,130 points are the second all-time at the school and inspired the Philadelphia 76ers to make him the ninth overall pick in the 1992 draft. Weatherspoon set a franchise rookie record with 1,290 points and evaded the sophomore slump with 45 double-doubles, the seventh-most in NBA history.
He averaged 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game throughout his 13-year NBA career. That stretch included stops in Philadelphia (1992-98), Golden State (1998), Miami (1999-00), Cleveland (2000-01), New York (2001-03) and Houston (2003-05).
Weatherspoon’s dunks and iron-man abilities were the most distinguishable factors of his playing days. He played in 231 consecutive games for one stretch in his Philly years and also competed in the 1993 Slam Dunk Contest.
Croft made his homecoming in 2014 when Sadler was hired as the head coach. The two were together when Sadler led the UTEP and Nebraska programs as well. Croft earned his master’s degree from Southern Miss and eventually completed his doctorate in educational leadership and administration from UTEP in 2008.
Other ventures Croft has been a part of includes a head coaching tenure at Martin Methodist, where he led the school to its first conference championship. He has also served on Eddie Sutton’s staff at Oklahoma State and underneath all-time winningest Southern Miss coach M.K. Turk as an undergrad.
There will be a reception Thursday from 5 – 6:30 p.m. for Sadler’s new staff. The event will take place inside the Carlisle Hall of Champions within the second floor of the Duff Athletic Center, and it is open to Eagle and Hardwood Club members.