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Jason Rabedeaux

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Jason Rabedeaux Obituary
Jason Rabedeaux - the man whose future seemed so golden in 1999 - passed away Monday in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

He was 49.

Rabedeaux, who had the unenviable task of succeeding Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins at UTEP in 1999, had been coaching the Saigon Heat, the first ever professional basketball team in Vietnam.

Rabedeaux hit El Paso like a West Texas windstorm when he was hired on Sept. 10, 1999. He was tireless, filled with an almost other-worldly energy, and he said all the right things. He was only 34 years old when he arrived in El Paso.

"I was so sorry to hear of coach Rabedeaux's passing at such a young age," said UTEP athletic director Bob Stull, who hired Rabedeaux at UTEP. "His energy and enthusiasm brought a great deal of excitement to the UTEP basketball program. His second year here was particularly fun to watch as he directed the Miners to 23 wins and was named WAC Coach of the Year by The Sporting News and Houston Chronicle. Jason's career continued to progress and he was a highly successful coach overseas. His passion for the game has made him a fan favorite both domestically and abroad. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Rabedeaux was born in Aurora, Ill., and moved to Eau Claire, Wisc., at age seven. He talked about growing up in a sports environment with two older brothers and a dad who was a coach. Rabedeaux was an all-around athlete at Eau Claire Memorial High, making third team all-state in basketball, first team all-state in baseball and quarterbacking the football team to a 12-1 record and the state semifinals.

He was a walk-on basketball player at University of California-Davis and became a two-time all-conference player.

Jason Rabedeaux indeed had a great passion for life and for the game of basketball and, in 49 years, touched many people.

And he won his final basketball game ... his Saigon Heat taking a 72-61 win over the Indonesia Warriors on Sunday.

Bill Knight / El Paso Times
Published in El Paso Times from Sept. 22 to Oct. 13, 2014
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