By Kim Staudinger
Sterling College assistant coach Shawn Reed was the second candidate to complete the interview process for the head women's basketball coaching position at Montana State University-Northern.
Tuesday night Reed greeted various community members and explained his goals, plans and expectations for the future of the Skylights basketball program.
Reed, who has been an assistant for the small NAIA Division II college in Sterling, Kan., for nine years, told the group his job goes beyond the duties of a typical assistant coach. Aside from assisting with practices and team instruction, Reed said he is responsible for about 80 percent of the out-of-town recruiting and scouting. Reed is also the sports information director and director of the Warrior Athletic Association, a fund-raising organization for the school.
Reed spends a lot of time on the road, he said, and is accustomed to the long hours it takes to be a coach.
"Coaching's not just an 8-to-5 job," Reed said. "It's not a profession, it's a lifestyle. Everyone has to make sacrifices to be a coach. I have thought about doing something else and I can't see myself doing anything else."
Reed said Sterling is very similar to Havre and he and his wife are used to having to drive distances. The nearest airport is 1 hour and 15 minutes away.
Reed, 29, and his wife, Miranda, are expecting their first child in the beginning of September, something Reed said would make the move somewhat harder. Still, he said his wife is supportive.
"She's told me she's willing to move as long as I approve of it," he said. " My wife is used to not seeing me much during basketball."
A 1995 physical education graduate of Sterling College, Reed earned a master's of education in sports administration in 1998 from Wichita State University.
"I'm ready to be a head coach," he said. "I'm looking for an opportunity to be a head coach in a program with a winning tradition."
Reed said Northern's reputation was one of the attributes that interested him in the program.
"I think tradition's a wonderful thing," Reed said. "I am aware of the tradition here and that was one of the reasons I applied."
As for recruiting, Reed said a strong program should be built on freshmen. While he said he would recruit some junior college transfers, he believes freshmen are the key.
At Sterling, Reed said, they looked for good students first, followed by a positive attitude and then the players' ability.
"I want good people. There's a reason why in the phrase student-athlete student is first. Good students are important," he said.
While Reed said he knows winning is important in the measured successes of a coach, he is willing to spend the time here winning or losing to rebuild the program.
"It's hard to say how long it would take to build," he said. "But as far as how long I am going to stay, I am not going to jump around and move. My wife and I don't like to do that. I'm not just going to come and stay for a year or two."
Reed said he met with the players earlier in the afternoon as part of his interview day. A big issue the players had, he said, was trust. While trust will be hard to instill at first, Reed said his positive actions on and off the court will help ease their minds.
"Trust is a big issue. I'm real positive with my players," he said. "I won't yell and scream at them. I won't demean them but I will get on them if I need to. You won't see me quit in a game whether we're up by 20 or down by 20."
Reed pulled out a thick black binder of plays containing plays from UCLA, Oklahoma, Kansas, and other schools. Reed said he plans on using most of the plays, which will help keep opposing teams guessing as to what is coming next.
He said he'll encourage his players to be active in community events, like reading to children at the library. He'll also encourage local kids to participate in the games by helping with water or the basketballs. Each participant would recieve a shirt and would be asked to sit on the bench with the team.
Committee chair Kevin Carlson said he was impressed with Reed's character.
"He's a great person," he said. "When you meet him and see the concern he has for the people in the program, they're like his family." Also a factor, Carlson said, is the involvement Reed has had in "a very successful program," and that he has seen and participated in national tournaments.
Carlson also announced Monday that the fourth candidate, Rusty Rogers, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job. Carlson said Rogers told the committee he had accepted another job.
The final candidate to interview for the position, Bill Wilson, is on campus today and will be available for the community to meet from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Donaldson Hall Commons.