By: Marin Murray
Never did he think he’d ever step foot on a softball field. But then again, he also never imagined that he would be able to teach and coach alongside his son. The quiet, ever-joyful Coach Jim Reese has done all of that and more, serving as the head softball coach the past four years.
Jim Reese, who has coached both baseball and softball at Abilene High, is set to retire after the school year ends, following a long and successful coaching career.
“I thought I was going to retire,” head softball coach Jim Reese said. “Then this job came open four years ago and there was just something about it, which was a lot like baseball but a lot different too that I was interested in. It was kind of one of those serendipitous things that you did not expect, but it was a great opportunity and it was really a lot of fun.”
Reese, who has led the Lady Eagles multiple winning seasons, as well as to the playoffs every year as head coach, hopes to go out on another successful playoff run. However, that’s not all that’s important to him.
“The wins and losses are nice, but the friendships and the mentoring you have with students are way more important than anything else,” Reese said. “So, winning district is cool, but you can’t take that with you. If you have people that come back that are still your friends that you taught and coached, that’s the most important thing.”
Reese has spent his 23 year-long career coaching baseball and softball at Abilene High, Cooper High School and Pflugerville High School. Additionally, he served as an assistant football coach at Abilene Christian University for five years.
“I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned from him is that winning isn’t the only thing that matters; it’s the relationships you build with people, it’s how you build your work ethic,” assistant softball coach Isaac Wright said. “The stories he tells us have really been impactful on my perspective because I kind of came into coaching thinking that the most important thing is winning and you have to win, you have to win, you have to win and he’s really taught me that you have to build players, you have build leaders, and stuff like that.”
The relationships Reese has been building for more than 20 years are what matter most to him. He wants his students and players to succeed, whether it be in math class, on the softball field, and even beyond high school.
“I’ve actually learned a lot from him because he doesn’t just coach the sport but he teaches you about life,” senior softball player Trakenya Roberson said. “And I’ve just learned that you have to work for what you want, things don’t come easy, and just to be a disciplined person not only in sports but in life.”
After retirement, Reese plans on traveling more and spending more time with his family. The impact he has had on students, athletes, teachers, and coaches alike will remain with them for the rest of their lives, even as he moves on with his own life.
“The legacy is something you can’t control,” Reese said. “But I hope it would be something related to wins and losses are nice, but mentoring and friendships that you keep forever would be way more important than that. So, that’s what I hope is there.”