Public League coach Mamon named Bulldogs’ new hoops boss
Jevon Mamon doesn’t back away from a challenge.
He didn’t when his former basketball team, Perspectives Charter/Leadership, got elevated to the storied Chicago Public League Red South Division. And Mamon didn’t hesitate to apply when Richards’ head-coaching position opened up, even though John Chappetto had guided the Bulldogs to the 2008 Class 4A championship, nine consecutive conference titles and more than 200 wins in all during his 12-year tenure.
Taking over an established program held plenty of appeal for Mamon and, as it turned out, for many other individuals. Perhaps the biggest obstacle thrown in the 32-year-old’s path was stiff competition for the Richards job.
“We had 63 applicants,” athletic director Ken Styler said. “We conducted two rounds of interviews.”
But once again Mamon was up to the test. When decision time came, Styler named him the Bulldogs’ next hoops boss.
“He was on the radar [early on],” Styler said. “We got a good look at him in the District 218 [Thanksgiving] Tournament when Perspectives played there and we saw him in action.
“We were just looking for someone that’s polished, experienced and knowledgeable. I thought he’d be a good fit.”
So does Mamon, who spent the first 13 years of his life living in Calumet Park and became aware of Richards basketball at an early age. Nevertheless, he is grateful for the chance he’s been given.
“I knew it was a large [applicant] pool, so I’m honored and happy to be a part of the Richards family,” Mamon said. “It definitely feels good for somebody as young as me to have an opportunity like this.”
But while he’s chronologically youthful, Mamon is no kid when it comes to coaching experience. Before taking over the top position at Perspectives Charter, Mamon spent several seasons at Niles West, where he served as head freshman and sophomore coach at various times as well as an assistant to Illinois Hall of Famer Bob Williams.
Mamon also got a taste of college coaching by spending a year at NCAA Division II Eastern New Mexico University.
“I’m 32 and I still look much younger,” he said with a chuckle. “But I’m more seasoned than I look.”
Mamon believes his stint with Eastern New Mexico can be particularly beneficial now.
“Knowing what [attributes] collegiate coaches look for in recruits helps to prepare players for it,” he said. “And because I’m not that far away from my playing days, I know what it’s like to be a student-athlete. I want to help them be the best young men they can be, on and off the floor.”
Mamon said he’s not looking at tearing up a basketball blueprint that’s obviously worked pretty well for a number of years, but one trait of his Richards squads will be an emphasis on defense, although he jokingly admitted that “might not be what they want to hear.”
“I’m sure there’ll be some things I’ll do differently, but it’s a good situation where you’re following up a coach like Coach Chappetto,” Mamon said. “That’s something I’m looking forward to.
“You have great athletic programs as a whole [at Richards] and a great sense of pride. I like the tradition of the school, from [coach Jack] Fitzgerald to D-Wade.”
Mamon’s Perspectives teams won 43 games in three years, with one of those victories securing for it a first-ever regional title in Class 3A. He earned District Coach of the Year honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association that same season.
Mamon prepped at Homewood-Flossmoor, where he played for the legendary Roy Condotti from 1996-2000. He then attended now-defunct Barat College, which posted 57 victories in his first two seasons and reached the NAIA Final Four in Mamon’s sophomore year while leading the nation in team scoring.