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Passion for coaching is in his genes

At 35, Reed is one of the nation's youngest Division I head coaches.

Brett Reed’s father, Lynn, was a highly successful basketball coach for 31 years—most of them at Oakland (Mich.) Community College. The elder Reed isn’t surprised that his son was lured into the family hoops coaching business despite the profession’s relentless pressure and sometimes around-the-clock hours.

“Back in 1987, my Oakland Community College team won the National Junior College championship,” recalls Lynn, now retired. “During that run, I could tell that Brett, a teenager who helped me in any way that he could, was hooked.”

Two full decades after that memorable run for the Reed family, another one has begun. In August, Brett Reed was named the Murray H. Goodman ’48 Head Coach of men’s basketball, replacing Billy Taylor, now Ball State’s head coach.

“This is a dream come true,” says Reed, who celebrated getting the Mountain Hawks’ job in understated fashion—by having breakfast at Friendly’s the morning after the official announcement with his wife, Kindra, and two small children, Brendan and Makenna. “I considered other professions growing up, but I have a passion for coaching, just like my dad.”

At 35, Reed is one of the nation’s youngest NCAA Division I head coaches, but he’s ready to move over one seat on the Lehigh bench.

“An assistant coach makes suggestions, while a head coach makes decisions,” Reed says. “Fortunately, Billy allowed me to have a lot of input during the previous five years here, so I’m ready.”

Success has followed Reed on the hardwood. As a player, he helped Eckerd (Fla.) College win a conference title and reach the NCAA Division II basketball tournament.

After his playing career ended, Reed was an assistant coach with his dad at Oakland Community College for a couple of years. Once he was certain he wanted to coach, Reed became director of basketball operations at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 1999—where his boss was former Lehigh coach Fran McCaffrey and Taylor was one of McCaffrey’s assistant coaches.

From there, Reed became an assistant coach at High Point University in North Carolina (2000–02), where he worked for Jerry Steele, a man who coached two eventual NBA greats, Lloyd (he later legally changed his name from Lloyd to World B.) Free and M.L. Carr, as collegians. High Point reached the 2002 Big South title game, but fell to Winthrop.

The sting of finishing one win short of the 2002 Big Dance didn’t last long as Taylor was named Lehigh’s coach and brought Reed with him that spring. The rest is history. Led by Taylor and Reed, Lehigh won the Patriot League regular season and tournament title in 2004, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament. The past two years, Lehigh finished third in the Patriot League.

In the 2007–08 preseason poll, Lehigh—which like its coach is extremely young (nine of the team’s 13 players are either freshmen or sophomores)—was picked to finish fourth in the Patriot League.

If Reed needs advice on how to coax more out of his young team, he has a deep bench of six reliable people with hoops expertise that he can easily tap into: his dad, his father-in-law Craig Schafer (who coached hoops at Shorecrest High in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.), his wife, Kindra (who started every game at Eckerd as a freshman before hurting her back before the start of her sophomore year), his brother Darrin (who played at Air Force), and two former Lehigh coaches in Taylor and McCaffrey.

“I have terrific assistants in Matt Allen, Matt Logie, and Jon Weiner, but having these other folks in my corner is a huge plus too,” admits Reed.

--Bill Doherty

Lehigh Alumni Bulletin
Fall 2007 issue


Photo courtesy of Theo Anderson

Posted on Monday, December 03, 2007

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