Matt Brase, Lute Olson‘s grandson and former player at Catalina Foothills High School and Arizona, describes his third year coaching the Haiti Men’s National Team a “rewarding project.”
“We have a great group of people trying to make it work for a country that needs hope,” Brase communicated to me.
Brase is one of 35 former Arizona athletes who are now head coaches (full list below).
Brase and others have tried to recruit investors to help their project of operating the Haiti team, which had its first international competition in 37 years in July of 2018.
“Haiti is a third-world country and has no budget for the team we have been working on, and funding is always an issue,” said Brase, who has been forced to conduct practices mostly in Miami because Haiti lacks adequate sports facilities.
Haiti went 4-0 and won its games by an average of 33 points in last summer’s competition. The Haitians defeated Barbados, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda and Bermuda at the International Basketball Federation AmeriCup Caribbean 2021 Pre-Qualifiers in Suriname.
Twelve hours before the semifinals, the Haiti team was disqualified from the competition by FIBA Americas, which cited its rule governing nationality. Only one player on a national team can be a naturalized citizen, the rule says, and proof of that has to be done prior to the 16th birthday.
Nine of the 11 players the team took to Suriname were born outside of Haiti. But they are Haitian, the team appealed, noting that the players’ parents are Haitian and, under Haiti’s law, that entitles them to a Haitian passport.
“We’ll be ready to participate again next summer,” said Brase, presently in his second season as a Houston Rockets assistant coach after being the head coach for three seasons of the Rockets’ G-League affiliate, Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
FORMER ARIZONA ATHLETES WHO ARE HEAD COACHESList of head coaches of various sports and different levels who competed at Arizona.
|Amy Baray-Rocha||1999||Salpointe Catholic HS||Softball||2015|
|Adia Barnes||1995-99||Arizona||Women's hoops||2016|
|Marcus Bell||1996-99||Eagar Round Valley HS||Football||2011|
|Matt Brase||2003-05||Haiti National Team||Men's hoops||2017|
|Robert Bonillas||1995-98||Desert View HS||Football||2012|
|Tod Brown||1990-94||North Dakota State||Baseball||2007|
|Jackie Coburn||2002-05||Scottsdale Horizon HS||Softball||2013|
|Sue Darling||1978-82||Catalina Foothills HS||Girls hoops||2017|
|Jay Dobyns||1982-84||Tanque Verde HS||Football||2020|
|Terry Francona||1977-80||Cleveland Indians||MLB||2013|
|Brenda Frese||1989-93||Maryland||Women's hoops||2002|
|Jason Hisey||1988-91||Canyon del Oro HS||Baseball||2019|
|Krista Humphreys||1993-96||Corona (CA) Centennial HS||Softball||2015|
|Stacey Iveson||1986-89||Israel National Team||Softball||2019|
|Mark Keel||1979-82||Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap HS||Football||2000|
|Steve Kerr||1983-88||Golden State Warriors||NBA||2014|
|Michael Klyce||2004-08||Los Angeles Locke HS||Football||2017|
|David Landrith||1980-83||Pusch Ridge HS||Baseball||2019|
|Hunter Long||2013-15||Douglas HS||Football||2019|
|Michael Lopez||2009-12||Big Spring (TX) Howard JC||Baseball||2020|
|Paige Maggio||2013-16||Mountain View HS||Girls soccer||2018|
|Jennifer Martinez||2008-09||Abraham Baldwin (GA) JC||Softball||2017|
|Scott McKee||1999-02||Sahuaro HS||Football||2009|
|Craig McMillan||1984-88||Santa Rosa (CA) JC||Men's hoops||2000|
|Richard Mercado||2002-04||Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei HS||Baseball||2019|
|Edwin Mulitalo||1995-98||Southern Virginia||Football||2018|
|Josh Pastner||1996-00||Georgia Tech||Men's hoops||2016|
|Jody Pruitt||1990-93||Peoria Sunrise Mountain HS||Softball||2011|
|Rebekah Quiroz||2002||Pima CC||Softball||2019|
|Danielle Steinberg||2005-09||Colorado||Women's tennis||2018|
|Gina Snyder||2018-19||Manatee (FL) Squeeze||Softball||2020|
|Jason Stewart||1997-99||Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito HS||Boys hoops||2014|
|Damon Stoudamire||1992-95||Pacific||Men's hoops||2016|
|Luke Walton||1999-03||Sacramento Kings||NBA||2019|
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.