Saturday, June 15, 2024

Saddi Washington hired as assistant coach for MSU men's basketball

June 6, 2024
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo sits, dejected, during the Spartans 80-69 loss to the Buckeyes on Mar. 3, 2022
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo sits, dejected, during the Spartans 80-69 loss to the Buckeyes on Mar. 3, 2022

Michigan State men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo announced a series of moves to his coaching staff Thursday morning, including the addition of Saddi Washington -- a Lansing native and son of Spartan legend Stanley Washington -- as assistant coach.

The announcement came after former MSU assistant coach Mark Montgomery was hired as head coach for the University of Detroit Mercy in April.

"I'm very excited to welcome Saddi to our staff and to bring him back home to the Lansing area," Izzo said.  "I've known him since he was in junior high school, where he had Doug Herner as a teacher and I've had a great relationship with him and his family for a long, long time. Obviously, he's got some deep ties at Michigan State as his parents and his brother are all alums and his father, Stan, was one of the greats of our program.”

In addition to Washington's hiring, Izzo elevated Doug Wojick to associate head coach and promoted Jon Borovich and Austin Thornton to assistant coaching positions

Washington joins the Spartan basketball program with nearly two decades of coaching experience, including the past eight years as assistant coach for the University of Michigan working alongside coaches John Beilein and Juwan Howard.

"I'm very thankful to join the program at Michigan State and to come back home," Washington said. "My family and I are excited for this move and becoming a Spartan is a bit of a full-circle moment for me since my parents and my youngest brother are MSU alums. I grew up down the road in Lansing, coming to watch games at Jenison Field House and my father is one of the original 'Spartan Dawgs,' so it is surreal for me to carry on his legacy.”

During his time with the Wolverines, Washington helped lead the team to double-digit Big Ten victories in seven of the eight seasons, carrying an 84-66 record in conference play. Michigan claimed the 2021 Big Ten regular season title, back-to-back Big Ten Tournaments in 2017 and 2018, advanced to five straight NCAA Sweet 16s and earned a trip to the 2018 Final Four and national title game against Villanova.

Prior to his stint in Ann Arbor, Washington spent a decade with Oakland University from 2006 to 2016 in Rochester, MI. He served as an assistant for seven seasons before a 2013 promotion elevated him to associate head coach. Working alongside Oakland's legendary head coach Greg Kampe, the Grizzlies compiled 198 wins with five 20-plus win seasons during Washington's tenure.

Growing up, Washington attended Lansing Sexton High School, where he was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and track and field, receiving all-state recognition in both sports.

Washington’s father, Stanley, ranks No. 33 all-time in scoring at MSU with 1,242 points. He averaged 18.0 points and 10.5 points from 1964-66 and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, earning third team honors in 1964, second team in 1965 and first team in 1966. His career scoring average is ranked No. 6 all-time at MSU and rebounding average is ranked No. 5 in program history.

As a professional, Saddi Washington was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 1998 CBA Draft by the Grand Rapids Hoops. He also served professional stints in Italy, France, Greece and Israel. In 2001, he was a member of the Detroit Dogs of the American Basketball Association that went on to win the league's inaugural championship

During his college days at Western Michigan University, Washington earned All-Freshman team honors in the Mid-American Conference in 1994 and earned second team (1997) and first team honors (1998). As a senior in 1998, he helped guide the Broncos to a 21-8 record with a team-best 21.6 points per game while adding 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game as WMU earned a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The team upset No. 6 seed Clemson for the program's first Division One NCAA Tournament win.

In 2010, Washington was inducted into the Western Michigan University Hall of Fame. In 2021, he was named the 247Sports National Recruiter of the Year.

Now, returning home as a Spartan, Washington said he’s looking forward to working alongside Izzo and the program staff.

“I've followed the Michigan State program since I was a kid and saw first-hand how Coach Izzo has built and sustained excellence,” Washington said. “I understand how important it is to the community, the University and the alumni. I'm excited to get going."

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