May 31, 2012


Like Father, Like Son

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder



It will be a homecoming of sorts this weekend for Army associate head coach Matt Reid (left) as the Black Knights travel to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the NCAA Tournament.


Reid played baseball at the University of Richmond while his father, Jim, was head football coach for the Spiders. Jim is now defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, the host school for the Charlottesville Regional. Fourth-seeded Army will face the top-seeded Cavaliers on Friday at 4 p.m. at Davenport Stadium, their first meeting in nearly 100 years. Second-seeded Oklahoma will meet No. 3 Appalachian State at 8 p.m.


“I knew my family was going to be excited,” Matt Reid said. “And the texts started coming right off the bat from my mom, my dad, my sister. I was thinking what a great place to go. I know how awesome the atmosphere is at those games. I knew our guys were really going to enjoy it.”


Jim Reid was with his wife, Judy, and daughter, Molly, during the selection show.


“We started yelling and screaming,” Jim Reid said. “People came running over. They thought somebody was hurting us. It was just awesome. My father is 88 years old and where Matthew is staying is about 100 yards from where he is. You couldn’t have planned it any better. It’s remarkable.”


So is there any question about whom the elder Coach Reid (left) will be rooting for on Friday?


“I told Matthew there are two things here,” Jim Reid said. “Blood’s thicker than water, and he said ‘Dad, I knew you’d say that.’ And I said, “Hold on, son, because you never want to bite the hand that feeds you.’


“I told my father I think this is one with no cheering, we’re just going to watch this game. I know that will last about three seconds. It’s so much fun. I know how hard he works with those guys, and I know how much respect and love he has for his players because I listen to it every day when he calls me. It’s just terrific.”


Now in his fifth season at Army, the younger Coach Reid played four years with the Spiders and was the starting second baseman as a junior and senior. He was a member of two NCAA Regional teams and was a captain during his senior season. Reid received a Bachelor’s degree in sports administration.


He wasn’t sure he was going to go into coaching, but he knew that he wanted to be involved in athletics.


“I always wanted to be involved in sports,” Matt Reid said. “Growing up I went to every practice when I could, running around, filling up water, getting the bags where they needed to be for drills for the football team. I loved being around it.


“Close to when I was graduating from Richmond, Tom Slater gave me an opportunity to be a volunteer coach at VMI, and that’s when I really thought I want to do this. I thought it would be fun, to stay around the game and work with young men, be around the game, recruiting, travel, getting to meet people.”


The younger Reid served as an assistant at VMI and Louisburg (N.C.) before serving as an administrative assistant with the VCU baseball team while earned a Master’s degree in Sports Leadership.


“I learned a lot,” the baseball coach said of his football father. “I learned that you have to work hard, spend a lot of nights in the office. I never knew what he was doing, but now I know. I learned how to talk to people, relate to people. I learned a lot about the recruiting process, listening to him talk on the phone, talking with parents and players. I learned watching him coach on the field and not just him, but all of his assistants, the way they went about their business. I picked up things as a kid and as I grew up.”


In the preseason questionnaire, Reid tied with Scott Heather of Bucknell as Patriot League assistant coaches most ready for a head coaching position.


Army will bring a 41-13 mark into Charlottesville. The Black Knights rolled through the conference schedule, sweeping the first four series before splitting the final series for an 18-2 Patriot League record. Army swept fourth-place Lafayette in the semifinal series of the Patriot League Championship and took two of three from second-place Holy Cross in the Championship Series.


Reid primarily works with the hitters and infielders. Army recruits nationally, and he concentrates on the East Coast – and has landed several Virginia players over the past few years.


The Black Knights set a single-season fielding percentage record in 2009 (.970) after falling just short of the mark the previous season. Army has had multiple All-Patriot League infielders, including All-American Clint Moore in 2009. That season, the Black Knights also set program records in batting average (.329), hits (626), doubles (117), triples (18), home runs (57), runs (446), RBI (408) and slugging percentage (.500).


Jim Reid is preparing for his third season at Virginia on the staff of former Richmond player and coach Mike London. The Cavaliers won eight of their first 11 contests, including ACC victories over Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida State. Virginia earned a bid to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, falling to Auburn on New Year’s Eve in front of 72,919 fans at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Virginia defense held opponents to 24 first-quarter points in 13 games in 2011.


Jim Reid was a college teammate of Clemson head coach Jack Leggett at Maine. Reid was a defensive back for the Black Bears, while the two-sport Leggett was the kicker. Leggett still holds the school record for longest field goal, a 52-yarder against Delaware in 1975.


And Reid continues to be quite the baseball fan.


“You know you love the game when you sit at your computer in the office and watch little cartoon characters running around,” Jim Reid said. “I sit there saying ‘What am I doing here? Watching Gametracker.’ I would sit here and watch a stick figure running around, pounding my desk. It’s hard watching games with those little people running around.”


It should be more fun watching the real thing on Friday.


(photos courtesy of Army & Virginia Media Relations Offices)