– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
In a bit of a stunner on a Friday afternoon, Joe Redmond accepted the girls basketball head coaching job at Union. He officially resigned from his position as the boys basketball coach at Booker T Washington to take over a Union girls program that was vacated when Jamie Hill left to coach at Berryhill. Redmond leaves a Booker T Washington program that has made two straight appearances in the state tournament, including a runner up finish this year. He inherits a Union team that went 22-28 during that same timeframe.
“It was a mutual interest,” Redmond said of the interaction between him and Union. “My daughter attended Union schools for four years before this year and came to Booker T Washington as a freshman. I had an intimate knowledge of not only the school as a parent but also the athletic department. I already had a relationship with several people there. My daughter has some longstanding friendships there. It was an easier fit as far as a comfort level. Union is what it is. From the facilities and resources to building a program is interesting for any coach. I’m excited to be there.”
Redmond’s daughter will be a sophomore this fall and is a basketball and soccer player. Redmond is excited about the opportunity to coach his daughter and that had a major impact on his decision Friday. “I’m more excited about it than she is,” Redmond said with a laugh. “Any coach that puts their time in on this level knows that there are a few things that we really value. The relationships we gain with the athletes and the growth we see from them is something we remember forever. To be able to coach my daughter was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Redmond took the Booker T Washington job after Shea Seals led the Hornets to back to back championships and resigned. After five seasons in charge, Redmond made three trips to the state tournament with a 95-40 record. This year, the Hornets made it all the way to the title game before falling to Edmond North. Redmond coached multiple division 1 athletes. Juwan Parker, Chris Miller and most recently RJ Fuqua. Parker is at Georgia, Miller is at ORU and Fuqua will be a freshman at ORU in the fall.
Whoever takes over for Redmond is taking over not only one of the best programs in the state but one of the best rosters in the state. Next season, the Hornets will feature three players that all hold D1 offers. Wing Jay Bereal will be a senior and he picked up an offer from Missouri State today in addition to other offers. Forward Seth Hurd will be a junior and has multiple offers. And guard Bryce Thompson will only be a sophomore but has interest from all over the country, including offers from Houston, Oklahoma State and Tulsa among others.
“This was the only way I would have left,” Redmond said. “I believe that Booker T is primed for great success for a few years down the road. I’m proud of that. I wouldn’t have left a depleted roster behind. That’s just not who I am. It’s a high profile job. It’s going to attract a lot of coaches. It would be tough for them not to end up with a good basketball coach.”
Before Booker T Washington, Redmond was a coach at East Central University. Before that, he was an assistant coach on the UNC Wilmington staff. The Booker T job was Redmond’s first as a head coach at the high school ranks. Now he takes over a Union program that has fallen on some tough times. However, the foundation is there for them to return to some of the glory days that former head coach Jim Stacy brought to the program.
“I don’t feel like that program needs to be rebuilt, I just think it needs to be retooled.”
The only time that Union captured a state championship was during the 2008 season. The Lady Redskins would go undefeated and knock off Sapulpa to capture the gold ball. Redmond’s Hornets ended a potential perfect season for the boys team when Union’s 27-0 season came to an end in the semifinals. Redmond’s rival on that night just became his colleague.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the success that Rudy has had at Union,” Redmond said. “It’s my intent to use him as a resource as much as he’ll let me. After talking to him a couple times over the last 24 hours, it seems like he’s excited to work with me as well.”