Valparaiso assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Justin Rees is back for his fourth season with the Crusaders and 19th in women’s college basketball in 2017-18. During his career, the veteran coach has coached and developed three All-Americans and 32 all-conference award winners. He specializes in instructing forwards, and has helped 13 post players earn individual accolades.
Head coach Tracey Dorow added Rees to her staff in 2014 to help bring a fresh approach to the program’s recruiting efforts. Since that time, the Crusaders have brought in 14 newcomers.
Since Rees was added to the staff, the Crusaders have seen an uptick in total wins from six to 10, including a Horizon League Tournament first-round upset of the No. 4 seed in 2015-16. Working with the team's post players, Rees instructed a member of the all-league second-team and a member the all-league defensive team during the 2016-17 season. He has aided the development of Dani Franklin, who scored 559 points as a junior in 2016-17, the second-highest single-season point total by any player in program history.
Before arriving at Valpo, Rees served as head coach at Missouri Valley College during the 2013-2014 campaign. He guided a program that had won eight games the year prior to a 19-win campaign. Rees coached two players to all-conference honors, including one who earned NAIA Division-I All-American honorable mention. During his stint at Missouri Valley, Rees also established several Midwest and Southeast recruiting contacts in the high school, junior college and AAU programs.
Rees was an assistant coach at William Jewell College in 2012-2013. The program was under the direction of Jill Cress, who gave Rees the responsibility of directing the team’s half-court defense. William Jewell finished the season ranked first in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in steals and fourth in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense. William Jewell reached the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament in its first season of Division-II eligibility.
Rees served as the head coach at Lake Superior State University during the 2011-12 season. His team reached 10 wins and was in contention to make the playoffs until the final week of the regular season. The team finished fifth of 14 conference schools in defensive field-goal percentage.
Before arriving at Lake Superior, Rees spent four years as an assistant at the University of Maine. He established recruiting contacts in the Midwest and Northeast. The team’s 2011 recruiting class was believed to be one of the best in the northeast for small mid-major Division-I programs. Another of his responsibilities at Maine was to develop the team’s summer skill guides, which served as the backbone of their players’ conditioning and individual skill improvement over summer break.
Rees also spent five seasons as an assistant at Ferris State University, helping the team compile 88 wins and make two trips to the Division-II National Tournament during that stretch. In Rees’ final season on staff, Ferris State reached the D-II Sweet Sixteen. He recruited and helped coach six players to 13 individual all-conference honors and three players to All-American accolades during his tenure. The team also continued a streak of seven consecutive years in the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll.
A native of Miami, Fla., Rees earned a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast communication from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. in 1997. Rees was a member of the Barry University men's basketball team.