Illinois State men’s basketball head coach Ryan Pedon has finalized his first coaching staff at Illinois State with the addition of former Redbird assistant coach, Northern Illinois head coach, and IBCA Hall of Fame member Rob Judson.
“Rob Judson is a home run hire for our basketball program,” said Pedon. “I couldn’t be more excited about adding Rob to our staff. Both Rob and his wife Kim – who is an ISU professor – have great familiarity with Illinois State University and our Bloomington-Normal community.”
Judson joins the coaching staff after spending the 2021-22 season at DePaul University as the special assistant to the head coach. He helped improve the season record from 5-14 in 2020-21 to 15-16 in the first season of a new program under Coach Tony Stubblefield. Judson spent the previous four seasons at Marquette in the same role with the Golden Eagles, helping MU to two postseason appearances, in addition to aiding in the development of All-American Markus Howard.
“It is a special privilege and honor to be appointed to a coaching staff position under the leadership of Ryan Pedon at Illinois State University,” said Judson. “Coach Pedon is an exceptional person and rising star in college coaching who has a sensational vision for ISU Basketball. My excitement to coach again in Redbird Arena is at the highest level. This is a special time to compete for excellence in the Missouri Valley Conference with our goal to cut down the nets. I want to thank Coach Pedon and Kyle Brennan for this opportunity to unite with them and build Redbird Basketball to a championship level. FEAR the Bird!”
He arrived in Milwaukee after spending the previous four seasons at Indiana University under Tom Crean. He was the director of basketball operations for two seasons, prior to moving into an assistant coaching position for the 2015-16 season. His first season as assistant coach saw the Hoosiers claim a Big Ten title, advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 in his first season with a team that sent four players to the NBA.
“His coaching resume speaks for itself as he has worked with some of the best coaches in college basketball,” Pedon noted. “These experiences, combined with his knowledge and feel for basketball in our home state of Illinois were very attractive to me and will strengthen Redbird Basketball moving forward.”
Over his career on the sidelines, Judson has seen over 22 players that he either recruited or coached play in the NBA and one find a career in the NFL. He also played for Hall of Famer Lou Henson at Illinois and holds the distinction of winning three Big Ten Championships with three different head coaches (Kruger, Self, Crean).
Directly before taking the job at Indiana, Judson spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois State, as the Redbirds posted a 122-79 record during his stay with four NIT bids and three MVC title game appearances.
Judson came to Normal following a six-year stint as the Head Coach at Northern Illinois – He took over a team that won just five games the year before and led NIU to 12 wins in his first season. Judson then led the Huskies to the first of two 17-win seasons. The 2005-06 squad won the only outright Mid-American Conference West Division Championship in NIU history.
His arrival in DeKalb came after five seasons at the University of Illinois, where he served as a top recruiter for Lon Kruger and Bill Self and watched the Fighting Illini make four NCAA tournament appearances in five seasons, winning Big Ten crowns in 1998 and 2001, including advancing to the Elite Eight in 2001. He recruited three consecutive Illinois Mr. Basketball winners to the Fighting Illini: Sergio McClain, Frank Williams and Brian Cook. Williams & Cook went on to become Big Ten Players of the Year.
Judson opened his collegiate coaching career in 1989-91 when he joined Jim Molinari’s coaching staff at Northern Illinois, which won a Mid-Continent Conference title in 1991. He followed along with Molinari to Bradley University and was an assistant coach with the Braves from 1991-96, helping BU to a MVC title in 1996. At BU he recruited MVC Player of the Year and first round draft pick Anthony Parker of Naperville.
He began his coaching career after graduating from Illinois when he was freshman coach at Palatine High School, and then spent two seasons as head coach at Wauconda High School and six seasons as head coach at Glenbrook South High School.
A Zion, Illinois native, Judson was a four-year letter winner at the University of Illinois. He remains the Illini career record holder for free throw percentage, during his playing career in Champaign. He was a 1979 CoSIDA Academic All-American, while earning Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1979 and 1980. In 1990, Judson was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame as a player. The IBCA also recently awarded Judson the prestigious Herrin Award in 2021, for his dedication to the IBCA & its coaches.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Illinois in 1980, and a master’s degree in administration from Roosevelt University in 1983. Judson and his wife, Dr. Kim Judson, have three grown children, Karin (married to Jay Sutton & son Judson), Matthew and Kristin.