By Paige Nash
Ringgold High School (RHS) has welcomed 2001 alumni, Chris Reed, back as the new Head Football Coach.
Reed knew after he graduated that he would eventually make his way back to his alma mater.
He said, “I left in hopes of one day coming back home and making a difference.”
He credits two former high school coaches at Ringgold to not only the success as a student athlete, but also to the success of his coaching career- Tony Reliford, current Booker T Washington’s Athletic Director, and Sherman Simon, who still coaches at RHS.
“Coach Reliford taught me firmness but fairness. Yes, you have to show young men you care, but don’t break your core values in the same process,” said Reed. “Coach Simon helped me countless times as a student and gave me patience and understanding. Yes, you have to push young men to get them to work and get better, but there is a process to get them there. They are the reason I chose to become a teacher and a coach.”
Reed has been blessed when it comes to mentors. He has had the privilege to work closely with very successful coaches throughout his journey. Those coaches include a Head Football Coach in Union Parish Joe Spatafora, Offensive Coordinator in Leesville Chad Harkins and former head coach of Evangel and Calvary John Bachman.
RHS has not had a winning season in over 20 plus years and the last time they were .500 was back in 2006.
“What prompted me to come home were the words, ‘It can’t be done.’ As in win at the high school level in football,” said Reed.
He was offered the head coach position last month. It only took Reed a couple of days to come to the conclusion that RHS is where he is meant to be right now.
“I thought about it over a weekend and when I weighed it out, the decision was simple. I have been putting my life and my career into communities that are not mine,” he said. “I still have that drive in what I love to do, so I’m going to invest in the place that invested in me. When this is all said and done people will see that it CAN be done.”
As RHS is gearing up for the 2023-2024 season, the new head coach plans to “implement, reinforce structure and discipline.”
“Teaching young men the value of accountability will take them further in life that an ‘X’ or an ‘O’, said Reed.
The team already has players buying in with 30 players dressed for varsity.
“These seniors will set the stage for many great years of what is to come for Ringgold Football,” said Reed. ” I am very honored to be here and lead this team.”
Coach Reed encourages teachers, parents, grandparents, alumni, friends and residents to come out to see and support the Ringgold High School football team this season.
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