For the time being, the 2019 coaching carousel has stopped spinning.
North Dakota announced Paul Sather as the Fighting Hawks’ next head coach, filling the final Division I vacancy in the country. Sather spent the last nine seasons leading his alma mater Northern State, a Division II program located in Northeastern South Dakota. The Wolves finished as the Division II runner-up two years ago, and won 162 games total over Sather’s tenure.
Paul Sather named the next @UNDmbasketball head coach. Coach Sather brings an impressive resume that includes 282 career wins with 62 in the past two seasons. #UNDproud https://t.co/PaDhS3f2eq pic.twitter.com/h3BEc7vL08— NorthDakotaAthletics (@UNDsports) May 30, 2019
Prior to taking over at Northern State, Sather spent five years in charge at Black Hills State, a then-NAIA program at which he won 94 games.
The North Dakota position came open when Brian Jones left to become an assistant on Dan Muller’s staff at Illinois State following a 12-18 campaign, the program’s first in the Summit League. Jones coached the Fighting Hawks for 13 years, overseeing some major moments, including the transition to Division I in 2008 and the program’s first — and, to date, only — Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017.
Sather joins the ranks of Division I coaches to have gotten their start in humbler places. Recently-minted Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Beilein is likely the most striking member of that group, but it also includes hot commodities like Chris Beard and Chris Jans.