12/13/08 — Reid putting the Cougars back on the map

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Reid putting the Cougars back on the map

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 13, 2008 11:33 PM

Returning Goldsboro to state-wide football prominence is a brick-by-brick process that began by setting its cornerstone in place two years ago with the hiring of head coach -- and alumnus -- Eric Reid.

Reid inherited a team that went 0-11 in 2006 prior to his arrival before the 2007 season. In his first year, Reid guided the Cougars to an 8-4 mark, an Eastern Plains 2-A Conference title and a state playoff appearance.

Goldsboro followed that turnaround with a 10-3-1 finish this season and advanced to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A (small-school) playoffs. The Cougars won 10 games in a season for the first time in at least two decades.

For his remarkable progress with a storied program, Reid is the 2008 News-Argus All-Area Football Coach-of-the-Year.

"I didn't expect to come out and have the season that we had last year," said Reid. "It gave us something to build on this year. Then to come out this year and do what we did after everybody was doubting us because we lost (Anthony) Council and (Hykeem) Coley ...

"It has made the expectations higher around here and I like that because it's good pressure. If you told me three years ago that would be in this position this soon I would have probably thought you were crazy."

A day doesn't pass that Reid doesn't relish his 'dream job' and the pride that goes with having the reins to a football program where he calls 'home.'

"I do think about it every day and that's a great motivation," said Reid. "My main goal is that I want to win a state championship. Goldsboro has won it in every other sport I think but football, and I still have to pinch myself sometimes because I think I'm dreaming.

"I never would have thought that I would be able to get this job this early in my career."

The Cougars began the 2008 season 2-0-1 and were riding high after playing perennial 4-A power Durham Hillside to a 14-14 tie. However, Reid and company received a healthy dose of reality the following week in the form of a 16-13 loss at underdog Charles B. Aycock.

That setback provided a wake-up call.

Goldsboro won eight of its final 10 games after stumbling in Pikeville.

"I think that's a testament to the kids because they knew we were going to play through adversity," said Reid. "I tell the kids after every game we win that we can't ever get satisfied. I think before the Aycock game we got a little satisfied but that game brought us back to the realization that on any Friday night anything can happen."

Perhaps Reid's biggest impact on the Goldsboro football program has been felt in his ability to instill a family-like atmosphere. A graduate who once walked those hallowed halls, Reid loves the bond he's formed with players and students.

They've all become family.

"Everybody has their down days and their good days, and on your down days you come out to practice and coach Reid makes you laugh and makes everybody get excited," said senior linebacker A.J. Parker. "He pushes everybody hard. Before he got here we had a bunch of individuals and when he got here everybody bonded with him.

"We all played for something bigger."

And became part of Reid's dream he now lives daily.