"I've known Wes for a long time, since he was a player actually, and I've followed him as a coach. We're lucky to have someone of his caliber – as a coach and as a person -- and we're excited he's joining the staff," Sadler said. "Wes has been successful at every level and brings that winning attitude that everyone looks for. But it's not just his attitude. He's also proven it over and over again on the court, both as a player and as a coach. He's a great addition for our program."
Flanigan comes to Lincoln after spending the past two seasons in Birmingham, Ala., where he helped UAB to 47 wins and a pair of postseason appearances. Overall, Flanigan has been associated with three straight 20-win teams, including the last two reaching the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
The Blazers went 25-9 last year, including an 11-5 Conference USA finish, before reaching the quarterfinals of the NIT. UAB defeated Coastal Carolina and NC State before falling to eventual runner-up North Carolina. Among the 25 victories was a December win over NCAA national runner-up Butler, the Bulldogs' last loss of the regular season.
With the Blazers, Flanigan worked primarily with the perimeter players, helping UAB rank in the school record book each season. In 2008-09, UAB connected on 228 3-pointers, the third-highest total in school history. In 2009-10, the Blazers hit 42.2 percent (177-of-569) from 3-point range, the third-best average in school annals.
Despite the strong run at UAB, Flanigan said the chance to be able coach and recruit at the BCS level was too great to pass up, not to mention the ability to work alongside someone he's been familiar with for a number of years.
"I think this is a great opportunity and I'm thankful for it. As a young coach, you strive to be at this level and to work with the caliber of coach like Doc Sadler," Flanigan said. "There's always a great deal you can learn in new situations, and I think Doc will be a great help in that way. I've known him for a while and I think a lot of him as a coach and more as a person. In any profession, when you work with good people, it helps a lot. And Doc is definitely that.
"Coming here, I look at my job as trying to get us better, using my experience and contacts to be able to get better players and get this thing going. Building relationships is a strength of mine, and I look forward to working with a new group of guys and helping them get better."
Prior to his stint at UAB, Flanigan worked four seasons at Arkansas at Little Rock (2004-05 to 2007-08). In his final season with the Trojans, Flanigan served as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator when he helped the UALR squad to a 20-11 record, the teams' second campaign with at least 18 wins with Flanigan assisting from the bench.
Like Sadler, Flanigan is a native of Arkansas (Little Rock, Ark.) and he has a strong background in the junior college ranks. Flanigan spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Northwest Mississippi Community College, working with both the men's and women's squads. They combined for a 199-90 record, including an impressive 119-39 mark by the men's team. The NMCC men won two MACJC North Division titles and three region XXII championships to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., while the women's team recorded five postseason appearances with Flanigan on the bench.
The similarity to Sadler's career does not end there. Flanigan is also the son of a coach (Sadler's father was a high school football coach for more than 30 years), as Al Flanigan coaches at Little Rock Parkview High School.
After playing for his father at Parkview, where Wes was named the 1992-93 Gatorade High School Player of the Year for Arkansas, Flanigan earned four letters at Auburn (1993-94 to 1996-97). He was team co-captain for three seasons and finished his college career averaging 10.1 points, 4.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. He graduated from Auburn with a degree in health promotion in 1997.
As a junior, Flanigan had a stellar season, averaging 13.4 points and 6.7 assists while earning All-SEC honors and being named the team's MVP. He was honored as Auburn University's top student-athlete in 1997 and was twice recognized by the university with awards for his leadership abilities. Flanigan still ranks in the top 20 all-time for scoring (1,228 points) and ranks second in Tiger history with 573 assists.
Flanigan and his wife, Katrina, have three sons: Michael (17), Allen (9) and Collin (2).
Flanigan begins his position with the Huskers immediately. Sadler said he will fill the other opening on the staff later in the summer before the Huskers embark on their foreign trip.