STORRS, Conn. (WTNH)–Former University of Washington assistant Rapahael Chillious has been hired as associate head coach of the UConn men’s basketball program, the school announced on Tuesday.
He replaces longtime Huskies assistant Glenn Miller, who was let go on Saturday.
Chillious spent seven of the past eight years as an assistant at Washington, and served as the associate head coach of those Huskies last season.
UConn touts him as “a top-notch national recruiter,” and as an experienced coach who has been successful in developing strong relationships with players.
“We are very fortunate to be able to add Raphael Chillious to our coaching staff,” head coach Kevin Ollie said. “He is a high-level recruiter, but that is far from the only thing he brings to us. He has been involved in many aspects of the college game and has so much experience – he’s been a coach for a long time, he’s worked with Nike … I love his energy, his developmental skills and his knowledge of the game, offensively and defensively. Wherever he’s been, he’s created a culture that is a winning culture.”
Ollie and Chillious have a relationship that dates back more than 20 years.
“We’ve known each other since I was in the CBA and we’ve been friends ever since,” Ollie said. “He knows how to develop players. He’s a coach who can get players ready for the NBA, not only professionally on the court, but professionally off the court as well. I’m grateful that the timing was right for us to work together on a professional level.”
Chillious, 45, began his Division I coaching career in 2009-10 at Washington, where he remained for three seasons before joining the coaching staff at Villanova in 2012-13. After one season at Villanova, he returned to Washington, where he has spent the last four years, including 2016-17 as the Huskies’ associate head coach. He will assume a similar position at UConn.
“It’s going to sound cliché, but the thing that made UConn attractive to me is UConn — one of the best brand names in college basketball, four national championships,” Chillious said. “Historically, UConn recruits high-level student-athletes and produces big-time pros.
“Then, obviously, there is Kevin Ollie with his passion for UConn basketball and passion in general and his vision for this program — winning championships. I’ve had a relationship with KO since 1996, so it’s not like I’m coming to work for somebody I don’t know.”
Chillious has been credited as the key to Washington’s highly-rated recruiting classes in the past few years, particularly the No. 7-ranked class in 2015, as well as last season’s freshman class, which included Top 10 national recruit Markelle Fultz. He already feels familiar with UConn.
“I was going through the UConn athletic staff rosters and a student I taught, Joe Pereira, is one of the UConn assistant ice hockey coaches,” he said. “Even at Washington, I felt like I was close to UConn because Morgan Valley (UConn women’s basketball, 2000-04) is on the women’s staff and she and I were close. Jasmine Lister (former UConn women’s basketball graduate assistant coach) just came to Washington from UConn – so there was all these degrees of separation. I felt like, ‘This was supposed to happen.’ And for me, it gets me back living in the wheelhouse of where I recruit really heavily – the Northeast and that DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) area.”
Chillious is no stranger to the state of Connecticut, having spent five years (2003-2008) as the head basketball coach and co-athletic director at South Kent School (South Kent, Conn.), where he coached current Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas, as well as NBA players Dorrell Wright, Andray Blatche, and Dion Waiters. Even before he arrived at South Kent, Chillious coached former UConn star Josh Boone at West Nottingham Academy (Colora, Md.).
“I feel like have a connection, having coached Josh, and when they won the national championship (2004), I felt like I was on that ride, too,” he said. “I was in San Antonio with him when they won. And, during my time at South Kent in the western part of the state for five years, you kind of live and breathe UConn basketball.”
After leaving South Kent, Chillious served as Nike’s business manager for their Elite Youth Basketball line in Beaverton, Ore., for a year before he was hired at Washington.
A native of Olney, Md., Chillious attended Lafayette College (Easton, Pa.), earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1996. He served as the basketball team captain during his senior year and also received the President’s Club Silver Award with a 3.45 GPA.
He went on to earn his master’s degree with an emphasis in sports psychology from the University of Victoria (Victoria, B.C.), where he also began his coaching career in 1997. From there, he moved on to become the head coach at West Nottingham in 2001, then took the job at South Kent two years later.