Charlie Sadler's collegiate resume is impressive with a national championship and several conference titles notched in his belt. The seventh-year Red Raider assistant, who also has a Division I head coaching background, has taken his knowledge and experience by the reins and been a valuable teacher in a Texas Tech defense that continually improves each season.
Since joining the defensive staff in 2003, the unit has produced 147 turnovers, 24 of which were forced fumbles by his defensive ends. The rush defense posted its best season three years ago, allowing the fewest yards per game since the 1999 season and the overall defense has improved from a one-time national ranking of 117th in 2003 to consistently finishing among the top half of the Big 12 Conference the last four seasons.
Sadler's troops were among the best in the Big 12 each of the last two seasons as defensive end Brandon Williams had a breakout season in 2007 and followed with another in 2008. The fourth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys was among the more dominating ends in the conference, leading the Red Raiders with 15.5 tackles for loss and a conference-leading 13 sacks.
Additionally, McKinner Dixon accounted for 11 tackles for loss and nine sacks, leading a defensive front that helped Tech average 2.6 sacks per game, which ranked fourth in the conference.
The contributions of the unit also aided in Tech limiting opponents to the fourth-lowest scoring average in the Big 12.
Among Sadler's pupils during his tenure at Texas Tech, Keyunta Dawson completed his eligibility in 2006 as one of the most prolific defensive ends in school history. Dawson began his career under Sadler's tutelage and prospered during a decorated four years. The All-Big 12 Conference performer led the Red Raiders with a personal-best nine and a half tackles for loss last season and finished his career ranked fourth with 19.5 sacks. He also recorded five forced fumbles during his career, tying former Tech All-American Aaron Hunt in second place at the position. Dawson enjoyed his first season with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, making an immediate impact.
Sadler has seen the emergence of other players making their mark on the position, including senior Jake Ratliff, who in his sophomore season and first as a starter, was dominant at the end position after moving from defensive tackle the previous year.
Other players who have benefited from Sadler's leadership include Adell Duckett, who set the single-season sacks record with 14 in Sadler's first season. Former University of Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer offered Sadler his first collegiate coaching position as an assistant offensive line coach in 1978, following six years in the high school ranks. Sadler moved within the Big Eight Conference the following season to Iowa State, where he was the defensive line coach for Donnie Duncan. Sadler coached in Ames for four season, before spending the 1983 season at Missouri.
Sadler moved back to Norman in 1984 and helped lead the Sooners to the national championship in 1985 and a total of four Orange Bowl appearances. Oklahoma All-American and Lombardi Award winner Tony Casillas played two seasons under Sadler and went on to become the second overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Oklahoma led the nation in total defense from 1985-87 and smothered opposing offenses in 1986, allowing an NCAA-best 60.7 yards per game on the ground. Additionally, the pass defense ranked first from 1985-87, while the scoring defense led the nation in 1986 (6.6) and 1987 (7.5).
Sadler spent his last two seasons at OU as the defensive coordinator under Gary Gibbs, before heading north to take the reins of the Northern Illinois program as head coach. While in DeKalb, he coached the nation's leading rusher, LeShon Johnson, in 1993. Johnson was the NCAA leader in all-purpose and rushing yards that season and was a third-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers.
Sadler, a native of Carrolton, Texas, joined the Texas Tech coaching staff after three years in the high school ranks at two Austin (Texas) area schools - Akins and Lake Travis high schools. He was the defensive coordinator at AHS and head coach and department chair for health and physical education at LTHS.
Sadler began his coaching career at R.L. Turner High School in Carrolton, where he also lettered, in 1972 and spent four seasons as an assistant coach, before assuming defensive coordinator duties at Lamar Consolidated High School in Roseburg, Texas, during the 1975-77 seasons.
An all-state linebacker at RLTHS, Sadler helped lead the program to the state semifinals in 1966. He played freshman football at Oklahoma under head coach Chuck Fairbanks in 1967, before lettering for two seasons at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.
Sadler earned his bachelor's degree in education from NSU in 1971 and received a master's degree in education from Arkansas in 1972. He and his wife, Carla, reside in Lubbock. He also has a daughter, Dustin Kate.