A first-year head coach faces many unfamiliar circumstances as they go about learning the intricacies of the job. The adjustment period is hard enough on its own.
Throw a global pandemic into the mix and it might seem unfathomable.
It’s a good thing Jazmine Redmon knows her way around the Greater Spokane League. Friday night, when her young University Titans squad challenged Mead, the road game was a homecoming for Redmon and her staff more than anything else.
During her playing days, Redmon was a three-sport star at Mead and led the Panthers to a fourth-place finish at state as a ninth-grader in 2007 in a banner year for the GSL – Lewis and Clark beat U-Hi in the title game. She returned to state as a senior and helped Mead to the title game, where the Panthers fell to Auburn Riverside.
After her college career at Gonzaga and several years playing pro, she returned to her high school alma mater as a volunteer assistant coach for Quantae Anderson, who coached Redmon in track at Mead and has known her since she was in the seventh grade.
So when the two faced each other as head coaches for the first time Friday, it was familiar yet strange.
“It looked like two coaching staffs that kind of knew what the others were up to,” Anderson said.
Redmon’s assistants are comprised of her father Fred, a longtime assistant for Anderson, and sister Jade, an all-state player who helped Mead win a state title in 2013 for Anderson.
“I mean, me and Jade grew up here. Quantae and (Mead varsity assistant) Renae (Nilles) are like family,” Redmon said. “So it’s just fun to come back in here and just see the love that we have for each other. I’m very proud of them and they’re very proud of me and Jade.
“They’re the reasons why I got into coaching. Quantae was an amazing coach when I was here at Mead. He was my track coach, my jumping coach, so it’s just a lot of love for him and Renae.”
Mead won the first meeting, downing the Titans 47-26. It was an emotional experience for both coaches, who exchanged lengthy embraces before and after the game.
“That was the weirdest, it was, it was super neat. It was special,” Anderson said. “Her dad was on my bench (as an assistant) this whole time until this year. She’s a special person, and her family is special.”
Anderson is excited for Redmon to have the opportunity to be a head coach in the GSL, but hated losing her off his staff.
“I understood, but it was hard. It is hard. That was the easiest but the hardest recommendation I’ve ever given.”
Every night is a learning experience for U-Hi, which lost three Division I recruits from last season’s team.
“Honestly, it’s a building year for University and I’m very, very proud of my girls,” Redmon said. “We’ve been working on our defense, and they turned it up on defense and they know how to play defense. Now we’ve just got to carry that over to offense. Those are our next steps, but we’re getting there and I’m really proud of my team.”
Redmon is trying to build a “team first” attitude with the Titans.
“Our main process here is just get out there and compete. Be competitive,” she said. “They’re working on individual things, but mostly we’re just trying to build the team atmosphere.
“The girls are just staying together. They’re supporting each other and that’s what we really want.”
Redmon is aware that her hire has a special significance within the GSL coaching ranks.
“People are saying that I am the first female coach of color that University has ever had, and that’s an opportunity that I never thought I would be able to see,” Redmon said. “But just from seeing people watch me go through Gonzaga and then see me coaching, I want to be able to show females especially that you can do anything that you put your mind to.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, what color skin you have, if you want it and you have the right mindset, you can accomplish anything that you want.”
The things that made Redmon a great player will help her as a coach, Anderson said.
“She sees the game,” he said. “She’s a point guard, you know? And she was a point guard for an Elite-8 basketball team. She sees the game before a lot of people can see it.”
The Titans may be young and inexperienced now, but Redmon is willing to grow with her team.
“You have to just take it day by day,” she said. “There’s things I can get all mad about, and there’s things that I need to just let roll off my shoulders. It’s a work in progress, so I have to pick and choose the things that I want to get on them about and there’s things I just got to let slide. But it’s a growing year and I’m really excited for my girls. They’re improving every single day so that’s what we want.”
“All those things she’s teaching those kids, and all the things that she could be frustrated about now, she’s going to teach them to overcome those obstacles and those mistakes,” Anderson said. “And then they’re gonna be so much better because of the way she sees it – and they’re going to start seeing it through her.”
Redmon said she has learned a lot from Anderson.
“Just how to get the girls organized, how day-to-day practices should go,” she said. “Quantae is an amazing coach. The girls love him, respect him, they learned from him – so I want to take those things from Q over at Mead, trying to bring those over to U-Hi.”
“She deserves everything she’s gonna get,” Anderson said. “She is just is so positive, just listening to her postgame speech. We loved having her (at Mead) and her dad and her sister. It’s great because there a very great family and I wish nothing but the best for them.”
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