Josh Sash said coaching in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Thursday night will be “a little bittersweet for me.”
The assistant men’s basketball coach at Missouri-Kansas City will be in Carver when his team takes on Iowa in the Hawkeyes’ season-opener.
Sash is the brother of Tyler Sash, the Iowa defensive back from 2008-10 who had 13 career interceptions for the Hawkeyes. Tyler died in 2015 at his Oskaloosa home.
“I spent a lot of time at the University of Iowa watching my brother play football,” Sash said. “The university has always been something important to my brother and me and our family.
“That Tyler won’t be there getting the chance to watch me coach at Iowa is definitely something that will be on my mind.”
Sash is in his second season on Kareem Richardson’s UMKC staff. His coaching career began as a graduate assistant for Keno Davis at Drake in the 2007-08 season when the Bulldogs went 28-5 and won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
“We came into Carver and won,” Sash said, “so I guess you could say I’m 1-0 against the Hawkeyes.”
Getting to 2-0, Sash said, “is obviously a tall task. We’re still a very young team. It’ll be a fun challenge for us.”
UMKC, which began its season Tuesday night at 2018 Final Four team Loyola-Chicago, was 13-20 a season ago. The season before, the Kangaroos won 18 games, the second-most in the school’s Division I history. But that team had six seniors.
Before taking the UMKC job, Sash had been an assistant coach at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa in the two years before that, and was an assistant at State Fair Community College in Missouri the five seasons before going to Indian Hills.
He is a 2006 graduate of William Penn University in his Oskaloosa hometown.
Now he’s living the Division I life again. The Roos are in the far-flung Western Athletic Conference, with schools stretching from Seattle to the Texas-Mexico border, and from southern California to Chicago.
The way UMKC is starting this season is how the lower half of D-I has to do business in nonconference play. The Roos play at Connecticut Sunday after their Tuesday-Thursday Chicago-Iowa City junket.
“We fly to Chicago, take a bus to Iowa, head back to Kansas City Friday, then fly out Saturday to UConn,” Sash said.
The Roos are in the same league with Cal State Bakersfield, Grand Canyon and Utah Valley, so this week’s travel shouldn’t throw them off too much.
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