In a short period of time, Tigee Rideaux has become a hot basketball name in regional basketball circles.
Rideaux looks to revive the Nimitz basketball program. He's no stranger to reclamation projects.
The name Rideaux is legendary down I-10 in Southeast Texas. He was a member of the 36-0 Ozen state title team back in 2007, coached by Andre Boutte. A super sophomore named Kendrick Perkins held down the post back then for the Panthers.
He went on to play at Sam Houston State, where he caught the injury bug, but also found his passion – coaching.
Rideaux came back to Ozen upon graduating from Sam Houston to help coach with his mentor coach Boutte and helped lead that Panthers back to state before losing to Lancaster. He took a break to become his buddy Kendrick Perkins' business manager until 2015, and got back in the coaching game at Beaumont Central under the direction of Franklin Paul.
He was at Beaumont Central before the merger of Central and Ozen to form United. Rideaux then went to become an assistant at Lumberton.
"Lumberton was 99-percent white at the time and I think I was the first African American coach in school history," he said. "They had been to the playoffs one time in the school's long history. We made the playoffs the first year I was there."
Rideaux started applying for head coaching jobs and received two interviews – La Porte and Hamshire-Fannett. He took the Longhorns' job.
"In the previous seven seasons, Hamshire-Fannett was 30-133," he said. "We accomplished a lot in a short period of time. We went 25-12 in my first year, we broke Silsbee's 58-game district winning streak, we beat Hardin Jefferson for the first time since the 1990s and East Chambers twice. We upset Huffman in the first round of the playoffs."
Not shocking that Rideaux was the Beaumont Enterprise Super Gold Coach of the Year.
"The main thing was teaching those kids how to win," he said. "The year before I got there, we lost to Silsbee by 98 points. We beat them my first year and that just changed everything.
"It was teaching kids to work, to watch film, just teaching them how to play basketball the right way. Winning is contagious and we created a winning culture there very quickly. I really believe I'm leaving a state championship team to come to Nimitz."
Nimitz has the chance to be a power program in Houston with the right coach in charge. Rideaux is that man.
"I've gone directly to the junior highs," he said. "I want those kids to come to Nimitz. There is some real talent in the three schools zoned to Nimitz. The facilities are great and the academics are solid. It's a good fit for me. I'm calling parents and visiting kids because if I can't keep my kids, it's hard to be successful. I've got to let them know who I am.
"One thing parents and players will find out about me is that I'm not afraid to play young players. I'm playing freshmen if they can handle it because I have four years to coach them. I've done my research. They lost some elite players to other programs, but in 12 of their losses they only lost by 11 points or less. They were in every game so it's not for a lack of talent."
Rideaux leans on his mentors and old friends when making big decisions and coaching advice. That ranges from his former coach Boutte to Kendrick Perkins to Alvin Brooks III (Baylor assistant) to Brandon Chappell (UNLV).
"I'm really close with those guys and when I make major decisions, I lean on them," he said. "We don't talk a lot of X's and O's but more about life. Coach Boutte has been my biggest inspiration, but I have a lot of friends in this business that have so much experience."
He as an inner circle and wants his circle to expand at Nimitz.
"My mantra is based on family," he said. "I will create a family atmosphere. It's a good thing to go to Nimitz and play basketball. The junior high kids will be coming to watch the varsity games and vice versa. With the new UIL rules, I'll be able to coach them in the summer so I'm ready to get in the gym.
"My job is to build a winning culture here and having kids want to come play at Nimitz."