A Division III national championship game appearance. Two Final Fours. Three Elite Eights. Six conference titles. Nine NCAA Tournament bids. All culminating in a 384-168 record while being named Metropolitan Basketball Writers Coach of the Year four times and a three-time NJAC Coach of the Year. Jose Rebimbas brings experience.
As the most decorated head coach in the history of William Patterson men’s basketball, Rebimbas has been around the game his entire life. Starting as a player for Seton Hall, when the Pirates made their only Final Four appearance in program history, Rebimbas always wanted to return to Seton Hall.
“I get to walk into this gym that I call ‘my office’ and I get to see the banner from the 1989 Final Four team, and I get to see my name on it every single day,” Rebimbas said. “I am walking on eggshells every day. I am so happy to have this opportunity.”
After returning to Seton Hall for the 2017-18 season as the Director of Player Development, Rebimbas was promoted to assistant head coach last June. As a head coach for multiple decades, Rebimbas knows what to expect out of himself as an assistant, as he set standards for the assistant coaches that once served under him.
“Being a head coach for as long as I was, I would have expectations for my assistant coaches,” Rebimbas said. “And those expectations were met with a lot of fanfare. Sometimes we would disagree, sometimes we would agree, but what was awesome about having my assistant coaches for all those years was that we would have that open dialogue. Coming over here, Coach Bozzella wanted the same thing, which made it a very easy transition.”
Bozzella was one of the main components in making a return back to South Orange. Although the communication factor is a positive with Bozzella, Rebimbas’ switch to the women’s side of the game was driven by his daughter.
“I had a little 12-year-old at the time, a young lady who I though had a chance to be a pretty good basketball player,” Rebimbas said. “So, I thought if I was going to have an opportunity to coach her in college then I would eventually have to make a change, and once the opportunity presented itself, it was an easy decision to make. Since then, she has decided soccer as her number one sport, so it has put a cramp on me. But what this has done has really opened my eyes to how wonderful of an opportunity this is. I love coaching basketball.”
Yet, Rebimbas parental instincts also translate to his assistant coach role with his players as well.
“It is so important to establish relationships because we spend so many hours with our student-athletes that we are basically their father figure, their counselor, we are their friend, their advisor, their mentor,” Rebimbas said. “It is important to establish a relationship based on trust. In order to do that, there is a lot of time spent getting to know the individual as a person more so as an athlete, and hopefully you become a part of their life where they want to confide in you in their life-altering decisions as they go through the maturation process, as I like to call it.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @robert_fallo.