Q & A With Former Madeira Coach Jim Reynolds

03/26/2020

Those who have followed CHL boys’ basketball over the years should know the name Jim Reynolds, particularly if you are from Madeira & Wyoming.  Jim was the head boys’ basketball coach at Wyoming from 1985-1989.  He had a 60-33 record for the Cowboys including a district title.  He was teaching at Mt. Healthy and at that time and became the full time Athletic Director in 1989-1990.  Coach Reynolds moved to Madeira schools in 1990 where he taught and coached for the next 25 years.  His record at Madeira was 386-177 with 11 CHL titles, 10 sectional titles, 6 district titles, 1 regional title, and 1 state final four.  Jim retired from teaching and coaching in Ohio in 2015.  He has moved to Tucson, Arizona, where about a month ago he won a state championship at Salpointe Catholic High School.
Here are some questions we asked Coach Reynolds:

SID – What are some of your memories of coaching in Ohio?

Coach Reynolds - Coaching and teaching has always felt right to me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching and coaching in Ohio. The students, teachers, players, assistant coaches, opposing teams’ players and coaches, as well as the officials, were all people I developed positive relationships with.  Some memories that stand out were a 39-38 loss to Springfield Catholic Central in the regional semis in 1996, Madeira's first and only trip to the Final Four in 1999, and coaching Jay Newberry and Andrew Benintendi who both started 91 straight games in their four year varsity careers. The real treasure though has been all the relationships!

SID - What was the reason for your moved to Arizona?

Coach Reynolds - As the 2014-15 school year progressed, it became more apparent that moving out west to either Tucson or Denver was in our plans. We wanted to be closer to our children and both of our jobs were at a point where we could leave. Ryan was in Tucson and Erica was in Denver.  My wife Linda had lived in Cincinnati for her entire life and I had lived there for 51 years. We looked at moving as an adventure that would take us closer to our children. We picked Tucson because of the climate, low cost of living and to follow Arizona basketball. Our daughter had our first grandchild this past summer so I am pretty sure we are not finished moving. Denver could be a destination in the coming years.
SID Note – Ryan Reynolds is the Basketball Operations person for the University of Arizona Men’s Basketball.

SID – How did you get back into coaching?

Coach Reynolds - I was fortunate to find a teaching position immediately which I have had for the past five years. I volunteered as a coach at a local school the first year being there for maybe 3-4 days per week when it fit my schedule. The next season I went cold turkey and did not coach at all. All the while I was assisting Doug Brown and Eddie Glaser at Talawanda by doing some video work for their program. Sean Miller (Arizona coach, former Xavier coach) informed Ryan that the Salpointe Catholic job was going to open and asked him to see if I had interest. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to become head coach at Salpointe Catholic when the position opened. I must say that my wife was has been there supporting me thru all of my years. She is the real superstar in our family.

SID – Give us some background on the Salpointe Catholic basketball program.

Coach Reynolds - Salpointe Catholic has a very strong tradition. There have been many outstanding players and coaches who have been a part of their history. Salpointe has been one of the better basketball programs in southern Arizona for most of its existence. The year before I took over, the team made a tourney run all the way to the State Championship game before losing to Mike Bibby's Shadow Mountain team 81-48.
The 2017-2018 year is when I became head coach. We had to replace three players who were the heart of the team. Our senior class was not strong and we had to move on from some players who put themselves ahead of team goals in everything we did. Couple the preceding information with two key early season injuries, we got off to a rough start at 3-14. Things came together quickly after that as the players returned from injury. We moved a player up from JV and sophomore Evan Nelson (Harvard Commit) became eligible. The team finished 15-16 including a four point loss 83-79 in the State Championship to Shadow Mountain once again.
The following season with a number of returning players we went 27-3 and ended our season again with a 77-70 loss to Shadow Mountain in the State Semis.

SID – Earlier this season, you got your 500th career win.  Your feelings at that game?

Coach Reynolds - The 500th win of my coaching career occurred at the Visit Mesa Tournament in Phoenix in a 66-63 win over Brophy Prep. I tried to keep it very low key but Ryan and Linda had secretly told my assistant coach, Eric Castillo, about it. There was a little celebration after the game and I was presented the game ball from the Mesa Public Schools which I am really grateful for. It was a feeling of appreciation for all of the great players, assistant coaches and most of all my family that enabled me this opportunity. As I have said earlier, the biggest treasure of all is the relationships.

SID - This season, your team went 30-1.  Your only loss was to Catalina Foothills.  You came back and beat them twice including the state semi-final game.  What was the difference from the 3 point loss?

Coach Reynolds - We have played Catalina Foothills 8 times in three years during my tenure. They have been a big rival of Salpointe in recent years. They are very well coached and have had some outstanding players. The games are always well attended with the last two this season being sold out 45 minutes before tip off. The difference in the first game loss versus the last two wins really could be found in our defense, rebounding and mental toughness. These traits carried us to 48-39 and 56-50 wins. Our ability to get to the free throw line and keep Foothills off the line was also big. The games between us always made both teams better!

SID – Take us through your state championship game with Peoria?

Coach Reynolds - The State Championship game with Peoria was similar to our Foothills games. It was going to be won with defense, rebounding, toughness and free throw shooting. We trailed Peoria 29-22 at half, closing the score to being down 40-38 after three quarters. We held a 48-46 lead in the last 30 seconds when Peoria rebounded a missed shot and scored at the end to force the game into overtime. We scored the only six points in overtime and really secured the championship in the last 30 seconds of the contest winning 54-48. We became the first boys’ basketball team to win a State Championship in the 64 years of school history.
As would be expected, there was bedlam as the horn sounded to end the game; the celebration after the game seemed to go on forever. When we finally made it to the locker room, after 31 consecutive years of losing in the last game of the tournament, it felt strange addressing the team after a win. There were no players in tears needing to be consoled. It was only after we left the locker room that I think we all realized that sadness that comes with knowing the season is over. The real treasure of any season is always the relationships.  From the day that we played our game with a 3-14 record we have gone 69-6. The players have been outstanding and our coaching staff has been exceptional.

SID – You plan to retire this school year (2nd time!) and will continue to coach.  Expand on that.

Coach Reynolds - I have taught PE and health for 43 years. I turned 65 this past February. It is time to retire with the health insurance being now much more affordable. As I have said earlier a move to Denver could come at anytime. We love where we live but the lure of grandchildren is very strong. It looks like we will probably be here for another year so I will continue to coach at Salpointe. Coaching has always felt right to me.

Congratulations to Coach Jim Reynolds for his great successes in Ohio & Arizona.  Also thanks to Ryan Reynolds for giving us the “heads up” on how his dad was doing.