By: Seth Kinker,

The Dexter Dreadnaught boys varsity basketball team has its next head coach. 

In early April, the former staff had been released and on the morning of May 8, Dexter high school principal Kit Moran sent out an email to Dexter basketball families introducing Jason Rushton.

Rushton has spent the last two years in Saline, where he resides with his wife and children, as a varsity assistant for Jake Fosdick and the Hornets. 

Overall, Rushton has 12 years of coaching experience with this being his first shot at a head coaching job at the high school level.

He coached his first five years at Birmingham Seaholm as the boys JV head coach, then spent the next five at Pioneer in the same position before coming to Saline. 

Fosdick met Rushton coaching against him when Fosdick coached JV boys at Saline and Rushton was at Pioneer. Fosdick told The Sun Times he always loved how Rushton’s teams played and had a thought about maybe coaching with him one day. 

When then head coach Rex Stanczak left Pioneer, Fosdick reached out to Rushton. 

“I brought him over because of his skill development,” said Fosdick. “His workouts were amazing, and he was big on player development. Great energy. A great relationship guy, someone that the kids flock to and like being around.”

On May 3, Rushton had his second interview that included a workout with some of the players.

“There were a lot of great questions asked about the vision and how you define success,” said Rushton.

“I thought the players had some great energy,” added Rushton on the workout. “(We) got a little loud in the gym trying to bring some noise and be great teammates and work hard. They did everything with a purpose.”

“I thought the workout was very well run,” said Marco Luchessi, a senior on the team next year and one of four players that participated in the workouts. “He had me drenched in sweat in about 25 minutes and that was a really great sign of how hard he’s willing to work us. Just based on the 25 minutes he had with us, you could tell his knowledge of the game. His drills were complex, they weren’t elementary or anything, you could tell he was going to get the most out of his players and he valued defense.” 

Although Rushton doesn’t have the varsity head coaching experience, he told The Sun Times he’s been prepared for this for a while. 

“What I do as a professional, my leadership, and how I run a program,” said Rushton. “I’ve always felt I ran a varsity program. From offseason workouts to in season training. Getting the kids ready for the next level. I’ve always been prepared for that.”

Although Fosdick noted it was bittersweet losing someone like Rushton, he said the opportunity was special and he was excited and happy for Rushton. 

“They’re getting a great communicator,” said Fosdick when asked what the Dexter program was getting in Rushton. “A guy with a lot of confidence and belief in his guys. He’s going to hold kids accountable, put them in great situations, he’s a really hard worker. He’s going to put the time in. If Dexter kids want to get better, I’m sure the gym will be open. He’s going to put the time in with scouting, workouts, player development.”

Becoming a head coach was always the idea for Rushton but he was looking for the right fit. He knew some coaches that would be willing to drive half an hour to an hour to be able to a varsity head coach. Not Rushton. 

“That’s not how I envision my program to be,” said Rushton. “I don’t think I can make as much of an impact or do things the right way if I was doing that. My thing is, I’ve got to be 15 minutes from home to run a program the way I want to run a program. I’ve got to be there when a kid calls and says, ‘hey I want to be in the gym.’ I want to be there within 15-20 minutes. I felt that’s the only way I could run a program the way I could make the most impact and have the most success. When Dexter opened up that’s why (I applied). I feel like I have a strong opportunity here.”

“It’s exciting,” said Rushton on May 8. “It’s going to be fun coaching in the SEC, it’s a great basketball conference. A lot of great coaches. I’m looking forward to being among them and hopefully being another great program in the SEC. I’m excited to get in the gym. I’m excited to get those keys, talk to these players and see how bad they want it. It’s time to go make that step from good to great. We’re not gonna settle for anything.”