Jason Justus’ time as Lahainaluna boys basketball coach has come to a close.
Justus has resigned as head coach, effective immediately. He led the Lunas to state-tournament berths in each of his five years, developing a rigorous offseason program that lifted them to new heights. Justus, 44, is recently married and sensed that the time for change was here.
“It’s a great program. I already miss it. There’s things in my life that changed. Rachel Kane, my assistant, we just got married in May,” Justus said. “We both love coaching. We’ll miss it quite a bit. We could’ve stayed one more year, but I know every year it seems like the passion is not how it used to be. Rachel and I want to go on a different path and be a little selfish. Live our lives a little bit.”
With assistant coaches Kane, Kalei Houpo and Fred Baisa, Justus guided the program to a 69-1 mark in Maui Interscholastic League regular-season play.
“I just want to add a big thank you to the community of Lahainaluna. They are wonderful and our administration is outstanding. The people of Lahaina, it was a great run and we couldn’t have done it without them. I hope they enjoyed the ride.”
Justus also thanked Westside Hoops Maui, led by Dan Williams.
“Without their help with fundraising and a lot of things, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve that,” he added.
The Lunas spent every summer on the West Coast, practicing and training, playing bigger, better programs. Even though there was a possibility that Justus would step down, he decided to return to the mainland with the Lunas this summer and continue the tradition. They played around 40 games this summer.
Justus has always seemed like a potential candidate to coach at a college program, but he has no definite plans.
“There’s no other coaching job lined up. We’re still looking at different avenues, but as of right now, we’re still on Maui. We’re taking it one day at a time. I refereed for a long time prior to coaching, so who knows,” he said.
As for the next Lunas boys basketball coach, he wants the momentum to continue.
“The one thing I’m hoping is that the next person takes it to the next level. We taught discipline, respect and hard work, and our practices were pretty intense. With our defensive mind-set, we kind of made a name for ourselves,” Justus said. “Our boys bought into it. These kids will pretty much work their butts off if you ask them to.”