By R. Alan Richardson
In what was a major decision for him, and a burning desire to get closer to home and family, Coach Josh Reeves announced his resignation at Morgan County this past week. He stepped down as a 13-year veteran of the school system in the classroom and as the Lady Dogs’ basketball coach as well as head boys’ golf coach. He will be missed.
“The timing just seemed to be right. There’s never a good time to leave a place like Morgan County, but everything just seemed to line up. My parents are getting a little older and it’s hard for them to get here. During basketball season it’s almost impossible for us to get there. It came down to spending more time with my parents and allowing our kids to grow up with their grandparents. Our kids are very close with them and love them to death.” He and his wife, Randi, have two sons, Henry (4), and Matthew (7). His parents are Rodney (RodDaddy) and Sarah (Grandma Sherry) Reeves.
Reeves has been an impact player for the Dogs since his arrival here as a student teacher under Jim Fowler. He took a full-time teaching job after that stint and has enjoyed the fruits of his labors from that first moment on. His coaching resume speaks for itself. He learned the ropes from Coach Kathy Hubbard for seven years as an assistant girls’ coach before becoming the head-coach-in-waiting under Charlemagne Gibbons while Gibbons coached both the boys’ and girls’ teams. He became the head girls’ coach in 2013. For seven seasons he has guided the girls’ to only the second State Championship in school history, four straight Region Championships, four Region Coach-of-the-Year Awards, one State Coach-of-the-Year Award, the AJC and GACA Coach-of-the-Year, 120 wins that included seasons of 24 and 28 wins, and had numerous college basketball signees. On top of all that, he has served as the assistant Athletic Director for seven years, coached baseball for three years under Brandon Patch, and coached golf under Tom Duff and along with Pam Hooten for the past several years. He will resign as the boys’ head golf coach after four years in that position as well where his team will be in the running for this year’s Area Championship. The core group will return after this season with possible future Championships on the horizon.
Reeves stated, “It’s been a nice run, but the one thing I’m really proud of is the relationships I still have with many of my former players. We still talk, call, and text. When I made the announcement Tuesday that I was leaving, I didn’t think about it being breaking news worthy or anything like that, but I was texting and receiving messages from a lot of those former players. It was nice.”
Besides being a stellar coach, Reeves has proven himself to be one of the best teachers in the county by being named star teacher twice and both Morgan County High School and County-wide Teacher-of-the-Year in 2011. He applauded Madelline Macanless (Georgia Tech) and Elizabeth Cagle (UGA) for choosing him as their Star Teacher. “It was cool to get picked by them. When you have the opportunity to teach genius kids like they were, you just try to help them where you can help them. It’s more about building a positive relationship with them than from a teaching perspective. They were so smart they could have taught me some stuff. However, it’s more about relationships. That’s what was important to me.”
The coach also pointed out, “Being chosen as the Teacher-of-the-Year is pretty cool since you are chosen by your peers, but I also have to say that being entrusted with upper classes like IB and AP social studies with good kids makes you look good. It’s kind of like a coach with good players; you’re only as good as your talent in most cases.”
Reeves has been approved to take a Social Studies position at Starr’s Mill High School in Peachtree City in Fayetteville, but his teaching and coaching responsibilities have yet to be finalized. He assumes that he will reunite with his old coaching friend Charlemagne Gibbons to assist with the boys’ basketball program. Other duties are still up in the air at this point. This past season was Gibbons’ first at the Mill after leaving the college ranks to return to Georgia. That team went 15-14 after starting a dismal 1-8, according to Reeves. They rebounded to turn things around and pull off an upset over Statesboro before falling in the Sweet Sixteen to defending AAAAA State Champion Warner Robbins. We all know that Gibbons can flat out coach. The addition of Reeves will only make his team better.
“It’s a good opportunity. I could wait for the juniors to graduate or sophomores or freshmen, but you’d want to wait for everybody to leave. I’m so attached to all of them. I don’t know if all coaches are like that, but I am. Leaving good people is hard. If they weren’t good people on and off the court, if it was easy I guess I would be in the wrong profession.”
You make a lot of friends in the coaching and teaching fields. Reeves mentioned his long-time relationships with people in the community and on staff at MCHS like Steve Cisson. He couldn’t help but talk about all his assistant coaches and what they’ve meant to him here. “I loved coaching our girls with people like Anthony Williams, Brett Bell who’s like a brother, Candi Wyatt, Shardae Massey and Timothy Roop. Candi and Shardae brought that strong female influence to the program. Candi has the experience of playing at the college level and what it takes to play at that next level. Shardae had that youthful energy the girls gravitated to. It’s going to be a heartbreaker to leave Coach Roop. He wasn’t an assistant, but like our co-head coach and defensive coordinator with so much knowledge. I’m going to miss all these people a lot.”
“I didn’t go out seeking a position somewhere to coach or teach. Things just seemed to line up for us and the family. Morgan County is a great place to be. Starr’s Mill is a great place to be. I’m very fortunate to have been hired at a really good school system. We’ll be living close to my parents and the kids will get to spend more time with them. It came down to making an adult and family decision. I wasn’t out looking for anything better, because I don’t think there is anything better out there.”
There’s no doubt that these big shoes will be hard to fill. He’s been a winner since he arrived and Starr’s Mill is one lucky school to get him.