Justin Tatum has been hired as the basketball coach at CBC, the school officially announced Thursday evening.
Tatum, 34, was the boys basketball coach and athletics director at Soldan, a position he has held for six years. He graduated from CBC in 1997.
“We were very pleased with the interest in this position from coaches across the country," CBC athletics director Rocky Streb said in a press release. "We received resumes from many coaches with proven track records of success in directing high school basketball programs. The selection committee was unanimous in its opinion that Justin Tatum was the best choice for CBC High School."
"It was the right move," Tatum said. "It's a dream come true. It's something I've worked for. It's a job I love to have."
News of Tatum's pending hiring was first published by STLhighschoolsports.com Thursday morning.
Tatum is the father of Jayson Tatum, a 6-foot-7 freshman at Chaminade who this week was named to the USA Basketball U16 Developmental team. Prospect Central ranks him the No. 9 player in the Class of 2016, and he was the co-player of the year in the elite Metro Catholic Conference.
It has yet to be determined whether Jayson Tatum will seek a transfer to CBC. Chaminade coach Kelvin Lee would understand if Jayson wanted to play for Justin.
"Our son goes to Chaminade," Justin Tatum said.
“I would love for him to stay, but blood is thicker than water,” Lee said. “I would never stop a kid from playing for his father.”
Under Justin Tatum’s tutelage, Soldan advanced to three consecutive Class 4 final fours between 2010 and 2012. The Tigers won the 2012 championship and finished third twice.
The 2012 team, backed by eight seniors who saw significant playing time since their freshmen seasons, went 25-5 and dominated the state despite a roster that lacked a Division I player.
Tatum was 108-59 at Soldan, and the Tigers went undefeated in Public High League play from 2010-12.
"There's always hesitation (to leave) a place you put down a foundation and gave you your first shot," Tatum said. "It wasn't a situation where, the first thing that came up, I was out at Soldan. It was the right move for me. My people down there understand."
Tatum graduated from CBC in 1997 after he and the Cadets, led by NBA lottery pick Larry Hughes and point guard Ryan Johnson, steamrolled to the Class 5 state championship. Tatum and Hughes played at St. Louis University. Johnson attended Memphis University.
The 1996-97 season was the first for ex-coach Bobby McCormack, who was asked to resign his position earlier this month after 17 years on the job.
Tatum takes over a team that went 20-8 and includes three returning Division I prospects in juniors Jordan Barnett, Patrick McCaw and Ray Doby.
"My thing is to find a way to push their buttons to maximize their potential," Tatum said. "They have all the capabilities and the talent and athleticism that everybody sees daily. I'm here to help them get to that level and hope that they learn a lot from me."