Veteran American coach Jason Rabedeaux, a former assistant at Oklahoma and Washington State, has been hired as the defending JBL champion Link Tochigi Brex’s new head coach, the team announced on Tuesday.
A former player at the University of California Davis, the 45-year-old Rabedeaux received a two-year coaching contract, according to a team release.
Rabedeaux replaces fellow American Thomas Wisman, who stepped down after Link Tochigi won the JBL title in April. He is now the Japan men’s national team head coach.
(The Brex had offered the job to another American, Bruce Palmer, after Wisman left, but the team now says the two sides never finalized the deal. Palmer, a former player and coach in Australia, had served as Japan’s national team head coach in 1999-2000.)
Rabedeaux coached the Chinese Basketball Association’s Jiangsu Nangang Dragons from 2008-10. Asia-basket.com reported on May 31 that he had agreed to become the CBA’s Shanxi Zhongyu’s next coach.
His coaching career began at Washington State in 1989. He spent five seasons as an assistant under Kelvin Sampson there, and moved on to Oklahoma in 1994 when Sampson took the bench boss job there. Rabedeaux was an OU assistant for five years.
In 1999, he replaced Texas El Paso coaching legend Don Haskins, who stepped down after 38 seasons at the school. In three seasons at UTEP, Rabedeaux compiled a 46-46 record and guided the Miners to a National Invitational Tournament berth. He resigned after the 2002 season, then worked on Marquette University’s staff from 2004-08.
In addition to traditional coaching duties, Rabedeaux has maintained a visible presence online. He wrote a comprehensive hoop blog on the Marquette University athletic department’s Web site.
In September 2008, he penned a heartfelt tribute to Haskins after the mentor’s death. It appeared in the El Paso (Texas) Times.
In the column, Rabedeaux wrote, “Coach Haskins was smart. . . . I’m talking a Ph.D in street smarts and common sense. It was that type of simplicity that made him such a remarkable coach.”
He added: “Coach would always tell me, ‘Jason, basketball is NOT a complex game. It is a simple game played by complex people’ Truer words have never been spoken.”
In addition, SLAM magazine and The Sporting News profiled Rabedeaux during his days in China.
Now, the well-traveled coach begins a new chapter in his ever-eventful career.
He’ll be handed the reins to a team featuring the first Japanese in the NBA (point guard Yuta Tabuse) and two-time JBL scoring champion Takuya Kawamura.