From Portland State athletics –
After years of effort, toil and passion, Jase Coburn‘s lifelong dream – to be a college basketball head coach – has come true. Portland State Athletics has named Coburn as its new men’s basketball coach. The announcement was made Friday by Director of Athletics Valerie Cleary.
Coburn has been the Associate Head Coach of the Viking program since 2018 and has been at PSU for eight years. He was named interim Head Coach on April 6, following the departure of former coach Barret Peery to Texas Tech.
“In his eight years at Portland State University, Coach Coburn has recruited some of the best talent to our men’s basketball program,” Cleary said. “He has proven himself to be an outstanding coach, recruiter, and department colleague. After a very competitive national search, there was no doubt that Coach Coburn exemplified what we were looking for for the next era of Viking Basketball.”
Coburn takes over the Viking program as the 14th head coach in its 60-year playing history, and seventh since Portland State joined the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97. His experience prior to coming to PSU in 2013 includes coaching stops on the high school and junior college levels.
“I’m extremely ecstatic. This is a dream come true for me and my family,” said Coburn. “It has been a goal of mine to be the head coach at Portland State. I appreciate the support of our administration, our athletic staff and coaches, the university, our current and former players. It really means the world to me.
“I’ve worked my whole life to get to this point right now. And to be here is a dream come true.”
Coburn has played an instrumental role in recruiting at Portland State, particularly with the addition of top scorers DaShaun Wiggins and Cameron Forte, top transfer Calaen Robinson and many other Arizona prospects including PSU’s all-time leader in assists and steals, Holland Woods.
Prior to coming to Portland State, Coburn gained a wealth of coaching experience. Though only 37, he has been coaching for 18 years, including a dozen years at the junior college and Division I levels. He was an assistant at Howard (TX) Junior College. Howard went 53-14 over the two seasons he was there, winning an NJCAA Region 5 Championship and reaching the NJCAA National Tournament final eight. Howard was a top-10 ranked program those two seasons.
Coburn was the Head Coach at McClintock High School in Tempe, AZ from 2007 to 2011. At 23, he was one of the youngest head coaches ever to be hired in Arizona, and by 26 had led the team to a state title. Coburn’s 2009-10 team won the 4A state championship, and two other times his teams reached the quarterfinals. He was the consensus Arizona 4A Coach of the Year in 2009-10. Overall, his teams compiled a 74-39 record.
Coburn was an assistant coach at Phoenix College from 2005 to 2007 when the team twice reached the national tournament. He spent one season as an assistant coach at Corona del Sol (AZ) HS in 2004-05. He has also coached AAU basketball (Arizona Rage, 2003-07; and Compton Magic, 2011).
A native of Mesa, AZ, Coburn played basketball at Mesquite High School and MiraCosta College. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education-History from Arizona State (2006). He is married to the former Lindsay Meiggs, and they have an infant son, Kyler.
The announcement comes on the same day as the hiring of Chelsey Gregg as women’s basketball coach. She was formerly the Associate Head Coach for Vikings women’s basketball.
“What I love about Portland State Athletics is our true family atmosphere. We are not just committed to what is happening on the court, but the overall development of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff. There is no greater testament than when you can retain high-character, dedicated and qualified coaches and staff,” Cleary said.
JASE COBURN IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH. WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW…
Viking faithful have gotten to know new Head Coach Jase Coburn over the years as he came to Portland State as an assistant under Tyler Geving in 2013. He has spent the past eight years in the Vikings’ program. When Barret Peery took over the program in 2017, his first move was to keep Coburn on staff. He elevated Jase to the title of Associate Head Coach in 2018.
Most of that information is common knowledge. What many don’t know is the unique path Coburn took to get here, and the fact that he has been a coach at the high school, AAU and junior college levels. All Coburn ever wanted in life, since he was a child, was to be a college basketball coach. But his route was not traditional. Whenever someone talks about “paying their dues”, Jase knows his story can’t be beaten.
- At age 18, Coburn became a head coach for the first time. He formed an AAU team in Arizona, and coached 16-17 year olds, some weekends driving them to Las Vegas for tournaments. “Those parents put a lot of trust in me.”
- At 21, Coburn became assistant coach at Phoenix Junior College. He routinely coached players older than him, some as old as 27.
- At 23, he was named head coach at McClintock (AZ) High School, where he stayed four seasons. By the age of 26, he had led McClintock to the Arizona state title, becoming the youngest coach in history to do so, and the youngest to be named Arizona State 4A Coach of the Year.
- At 27, he moved on to junior college powerhouse Howard (TX) to be an assistant under then-coach Mark Adams. He lived in the dorm with the players.
- At 29, Coburn came to Portland State to be an assistant coach, hired by Tyler Geving. He drove to Portland in his 2003 Chevy Tahoe with just a twin mattress, a TV and a suitcase of clothes. He subsisted on a box of pasta and pasta sauce, iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing each night while sleeping on his mattress on the floor in low-income housing. Jase soon had a major impact on the Viking program. Coburn played an instrumental role in recruiting top players to Portland State. They included the addition of top scorers DaShaun Wiggins and Cameron Forte, key transfer point guard Calaen Robinson and many other Arizona prospects including PSU’s all-time leader in assists and steals, Holland Woods. Under Peery, the Vikings began to make waves as an exciting program that year-in and year-out was among the nation’s best in forcing turnovers, steals, rebounding margin and offensive rebounding. Coburn was the coordinator of that defense. He was proven to be such a passionate leader, he had the role of the team’s pre-game talk under Barret Peery.
- In 2019-20, Portland State went into the Big Sky Conference Tournament as the hottest team in the league, having won six in a row. They were considered a true contender for the title and a chance at the NCAA Tournament. Then, on the day the Vikings were to play their first game in Boise, ID, the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. Not to be deterred, Coburn still had a story to tell. He and fiance Lindsay Meiggs (Portland State Athletics Academic Advisor) had a May wedding planned. But with the pandemic raging, they were concerned it would prevent them from having their big day. As the team was waiting for an opportunity to fly home, Coburn and Meiggs decided to go ahead with their wedding right then and there. With an assist from the Big Sky Conference and Idaho Central Arena (home of the tournament), the couple got married at center court in front of the entire basketball team, staff members and several relatives who were in town for the tournament. The ceremony made news, rightfully so, around the country. Happily, a year later, Lindsay and Jase welcomed their first child, a son named Kyler, to the family.
- Now, after all the time and work he has put in, Jase Coburn has finally realized his dream of becoming a Division I Head Coach. Oh, and he is still driving that 2003 Tahoe.