A little more than a year after naming its football field after legendary coach Tom Fisher, Zephyrhills High School has named the school’s gymnasium floor after longtime varsity boys’ basketball coach Alan Reed.
From now on, anyone stepping on the gym floor will be walking on “Alan Reed Court” — which has been visibly stenciled along the sidelines.
A formal dedication ceremony for Reed was held Jan. 18 — an evening that coincided with a Bulldogs defeat of crosstown rival Pasco High, 61-34.
Reed, 71, served as Zephyrhills boys’ basketball coach for a total of 16 years — in four separate stints — 1975 to 1979; 1981 to 1986; 2006 to 2010; and, 2014 to 2016.
During that time he became — and still is — the school’s all-time winningest basketball coach.
His teams claimed two district titles and a final four appearance. He was conference basketball coach of the year three times.
His coaching efforts goes beyond hoops, too.
In total, he’s been involved with Zephyrhills athletics for more than 35 years, also coaching volleyball, track, football and softball.
To this day, he remains a volunteer coach at the school.
In that role, Reed spends countless hours with players in the weight room, scouting, and of course, offering strategy advice when broached.
“It beats sitting on the couch,” Reed said of volunteering. “It keeps me busy. I love the game. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. It’s my whole life.”
Before embarking on a lengthy coaching career, Reed played high school basketball in Pennsylvania and then for Florida Southern College in Lakeland. In-between, Reed spent four years in the U.S. Air Force where he reached the rank of sergeant, and also played hoops.
At Zephyrhills, Reed’s most successful basketball teams came 40 years apart from each other.
In his second season — 1976 — the Bulldogs went 21-7 and won a district title.
Fast forward to 2016 — his final year as a head basketball coach —and that squad went 27-5 and reached the 5A state semifinals. It also marked the program’s first final four appearance since 1966.
There were many other memorable seasons scattered throughout, too.
Said Reed: “There’s a lot of ’em. I had a lot of special teams that didn’t have good winning records, but were much better at the end of the road (season) than the beginning.”
Yet, Reed’s biggest contributions to the school is more than just wins and losses, Zephyrhills athletic director Bruce Cimorelli said.
“The guy knows his basketball,” Cimorelli said, “but, he’s just a really good influence on the kids — teaching them work ethic, being on time, those sorts of things.”
Reed’s impact was undoubtedly apparent in the welcoming he received at the pregame dedication.
Dozens of former players and coaches — as well as a handful of Reed’s former teammates — joined hundreds of Bulldogs fans in congratulating Reed and giving him a rousing ovation when the gymnasium floor was officially named for him.
For Reed, the special event was “totally unexpected.”
“I can’t even put it into words,” Reed said. “I love this community. I love this high school. It’s just an honor.”
In that group of cheering attendees was Academy at the Lakes varsity football and basketball coach Shawn Brown, who once served as an assistant junior varsity basketball coach for Reed at Zephyrhills and also as a football coach at Stewart Middle School.
“He was straight old school,” Brown, who has won back-to-back eight-man state football titles at the Academy, said, describing Reed.
“He was good with adapting to the new style of everything, but he was strict on his ways and his philosophy. That never wavered. When he did something, he did it that way.
“I thought one thing he did really good was he always invested everything with the team and the community. He made sure the kids always had team shoes, uniforms. It was always a top-of-the-line type program.”
Brown added the Zephyrhills hoops coach is “definitely a person I learned a lot from.”
“I run some basketball drills that I learned from him — a couple of different plays I stole from him,” Brown said, with a hearty chuckle.
Meanwhile, the renaming of the hoops court comes at a good time for the Bulldogs’ boys squad, which stands at 12-4 overall and 8-2 in district play, as of Jan. 21.
Solid record and all, it didn’t keep Reed from giving an honest assessment of the roster he volunteers with each day.
“We’re not playing to our potential,” Reed said while the Bulldogs sported a 31-17 halftime lead over Pasco. “We’re struggling a little bit in a lot of areas. We just haven’t put it all together yet. We’ve got some good players, some good kids. We have a lot of inexperience…so they’re still catching up.”
Published January 23, 2019