CEDAR CITY, Utah, April 9 - First-year Southern Utah University men's basketball Head Coach Nick Robinson has taken the first steps in putting his mark on the Thunderbird program as he has named Jared Barrett and Todd Okeson as assistant coaches.
Barrett is currently the coordinator of basketball operations at Washington State, while Okeson serves in a similar capacity at the University of Georgia.
"I am thrilled to welcome Coach Barrett and Coach Okeson to the Thunderbird family" Robinson said. "Coach Barrett brings experience from three Division I conferences, including the Big Sky, and will add tremendous value in recruiting, scheduling, and skill development. Coach Okeson brings versatility and an outstanding work ethic having coached and played at a very high level. In addition, both Coach Barrett and Coach Okeson will be great role models for our student-athletes."
A graduate of Eastern Oregon University with a degree in physical education and health, Coach Barrett is in his second season at WSU where he has been in charge of academics and has assisted with recruiting. Prior to joining the Cougar staff Barrett spent two seasons as the top assistant to Dick Hunsaker at Utah Valley University, where he was the primary scout for Wolverine opponents, worked as position coach for the guards, was in charge of academics, assisted with scheduling, and was also actively involved with on-the-floor coaching and recruiting. Barrett also has ties to SUU's new league, the Big Sky Conference, as he served as an assistant at Sacramento State University from 2001-2007, with much the same responsibilities as those he held at Utah Valley.
A native of Rexburg, Idaho, Coach Barrett was a two-year letterman and the team's MVP following his senior season at Eastern Oregon. He got his first coaching experience in the high school ranks at La Grande High School (Ore.), where he spent two years before returning to EOU as the school's head junior varsity coach, a position he held for two seasons before moving on to Sacramento State.
"I'm looking forward to joining the Southern Utah staff and working with Coach Robinson," Coach Barrett said. "He's a young coach who played at a high level and has coached at a high level. Everything he will bring to the program will re-energize the place. My family and I are also excited about returning to Utah and joining the community there."
Okeson is a 2005 graduate of the University of Nevada and he has since gone on to receive a Master's Degree in sports administration from Georgia. He has served as the Bulldogs' operations coordinator for the past season and was a graduate assistant with the program from 2009 to 2011. While at Georgia, Coach Okeson has worked with film exchange, opponent scouting, academics, and he has assisted with recruiting. Prior to joining the Bulldog staff he spent a season with the Reno Bighorns of the NBDL as assistant for basketball operations and three seasons on the staff at Nevada under current Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox.
A Weskan, Kansas, native, Okeson played two seasons for Coach Trent Johnson at Nevada, earning all-tournament team honors as a senior on the Wolfpack's 2004 Sweet 16 squad. Following his collegiate days he went on to play professionally in Sweden and Finland as well as with the San Jose Skyrockets of the American Basketball Association.
"I'm excited to get back out west and very happy to have this opportunity," Coach Okeson said. "Coach Robinson is a good young coach and I'm excited to work with him and be on his staff. My family and I are looking forward to coming to Southern Utah and becoming a part of the program there."
At Southern Utah Barrett and Okeson will both work as recruiters and on-the-floor coaches, with scouting and with game preparation; while Barrett will also handle scheduling and Okeson will head up the program's academics.