Southern Miss men’s basketball head coach Doc Sadler has announced that Omar Thomas has joined his staff as the new director of basketball operations.
“I’m just grateful and thankful for Doc Sadler,” Thomas said. “We’ve had a great relationship and he trusted me as a player. He came to my wedding. I’m just happy to be part of the Golden Eagle family and to bring my experience of the last 12 years to help these younger kids fulfill their goals.”
Thomas was a star at UTEP and played for Sadler when he was both an assistant and head coach from 2003-05. Thomas then went on to have an illustrious career overseas that ended this past spring.
Thomas averaged 18 points per game in his two years as a Miner upon transferring from Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas. Under Sadler’s tutelage, he and teammate Filberto Rivera earned first-team All-WAC honors, the first time UTEP had two earn that distinction in a season in 20 years. Thomas also went on to be the WAC Tournament MVP in 2005, helped by his 29 second-half points in a semifinal win over Rice. The Miners earned an 11-seed in the NCAA field.
“I’ve had the opportunity to hire a lot of assistant coaches, and this hire is probably the most special one I’ve ever had,” Sadler said. “I had the chance to coach Omar at UTEP, and I’ve never had a player that brings energy, passion and enthusiasm every day like he did.”
The early years of Thomas’ pro career included workouts with NBA teams and later a spot with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League. He then spent a season in the Dominican Republic before a solid five-year stint in Italy, capped off by an Italian League MVP honor in 2011.
The Philadelphia, Pa., native spent the second half of his pro career in Serbia, Russia, Lebanon, Mexico and Georgia. His teams have claimed multiple championships, and Thomas even took home the Serbian League scoring title in 2012. Thomas has three MVP honors to his name, including Italy’s Second Division (2010), Italian League (2011) and for the Serbian Playoffs (2012).