Paul Sather Leaves Northern State To Take Over At North Dakota

Went 188-89 In Nine Seasons At Northern State

ABERDEEN, S.D. & GRAND FORKS, N.D.  —  Since 1946 the Northern State men’s basketball program has had a total of five head coaches.  Perhaps most remarkable is that, despite quite a bit of success, Clark Swisher, Bob Wachs, Bob Olson and Don Meyer never moved up to Division One.

Paul Sather will.

The Northern State alum stepped down today to accept the head coaching position at the University of North Dakota.  After winning 94 games in four years at Black Hills State, Sather succeeded Don Meyer in 2010 and went 188-89 in nine seasons with the Wolves, qualifying for three NCAA Tournament appearances.

Under his watch over the last two years Northern has been one of the top basketball programs in all of Division Two, winning 62 games, consecutive NSIC regular season and tournament titles, and finishing national runner-up in 2018.

He takes over a UND program that went 12-18 and 6-10 in it’s first year of Summit League competition last season, and is struggling to gain much interest in Grand Forks. The Fighting Hawks averaged a little over 1600 fans per game while the Wolves more than doubled that with nearly 3700 per game.

Northern begins the search for it’s 23rd coach in program history immediately. Possible candidates could include Missouri Western head coach and Northern State alum Sundance Wicks.  You can read NSU’s full release below:

Aberdeen, S.D. – Northern State University Director of Athletics, Josh Moon announced today that Paul Sather will step down from his position with the Wolves to accept the head coaching role at the University of North Dakota. Sather has led the Wolves the past nine seasons, compiling a record of 188-89 at Northern State.


“This is a tremendous opportunity for Paul and his family,” said NSU President Dr. Tim Downs. “Coach has done an amazing job with our program, and we cannot thank him and his family enough for their dedication to Northern. Paul knows how to build a program of responsible and hardworking student-athletes that work together as a team. He will continue to do great things, and for that, we’ll always be proud.”


“We want to thank Paul for the amazing job he did bringing NSU basketball back to the top of the NSIC and re-establishing it as one of the best programs in the country,” noted Moon. “He deserves this great opportunity at UND and we wish him and his wonderful family all the best moving forward.”


“I want to thank Northern State University for bringing me back nine years ago to lead the men’s basketball program,” explained Sather. “There is no possible way to thank everyone because the list of people that have helped Wolves basketball and supported our teams is way too long… making this decision to leave very difficult for my family and I. I would like to first thank Dr. Tim Downs, Josh Moon, and his staff for their incredible leadership and vision. Their tireless work and support gave us the resources needed to run a program in a way that gave our student-athletes a tremendous experience.”


“I would also like to thank our basketball staff, past and present. The passion and purpose you provided over the years helped build our program into a national contender…something we all can be proud of. I’d like to thank all of the players that have played for me over the past nine years and before I arrived.  The Wolves basketball family is strong, and will continue to be long after I leave. I have loved every minute of it. Lastly, thanks to Wolves Nation. We have the best fans in D2, and one of the most passionate fan-bases in the nation. Thanks for your support, through the good times and the bad, it’s been an unreal ride!”


A 1996 graduate of Northern State University, Sather returned to his alma mater in 2010-11 to lead the program. In those nine years, Sather and the Wolves won back-to-back NSIC Conference and Tournament Championships in 2017-18 and 2018-19. In addition, 18 student-athletes were named to the NSIC All-Conference teams, while Sather was named the back-to-back Northern Sun Coach of the Year. Sather led the team throughout their historic run to the NCAA National Championship game in 2018, with the Wolves finishing as the NCAA National Finalist after falling to Ferris State. He was honored as the NABC Region Coach of the Year that season and the Wolves broke the single season school record for wins going 36-6.


Mood added, “This job is one of the best in country, and we are confident that we will be able to quickly find the next leader of Wolves basketball as we look to continue to elevate this program to even greater heights.”


The Northern State basketball camps scheduled for June 3-6, June 24-27, and June 28-29 will continue as scheduled. For more information on the Wolves summer camp options or to register please click HERE.


A national search will begin immediately for Sather’s replacement.

Categories: Aberdeen, College Sports, Colleges – Northern State, Sports, Sports Top Story