Reynell's arrival at Goldsboro
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 11, 2010 2:20 PM
When is the revolving door going to stop? What have we done wrong? Impressionable and heart-broken, players in the Goldsboro High varsity boys' basketball program asked those questions within themselves each of the past three years when their coach left for another job.
"They've had it hard," said Cougars athletics director Eric Reid.
Somehow, Patrick Reynell has provided a comfort zone.
The 29-year-old head coach has brought stability to the program and began putting things in place for the future. He's also developed a family atmosphere and his personable nature has certainly infected the players -- a dimension that Reid said has been missing in the program.
Reynell constantly talks with the players individually and as a team. And not surprisingly, the team has become a sponge, willing to absorb every ounce of basketball knowledge that Reynell can offer them.
"When he came in, I knew the kids would have their guard up and I knew Patrick would have a hard time getting that guard down," said Reid. "Surprisingly, it's like it happened overnight because I think they sensed something genuine in him. He can relate to what the kids are talking about today and they can relate to what he's talking about because he's been there.
"He doesn't see color and that's one thing I love about him. I just think that's the perfect fit we needed."
Goldsboro started the season 4-4, mostly against competition on the Class 3-A level. Once the football players joined the program and got into basketball shape, the team chemistry drastically improved.
The Cougars claimed the Roanoke Holiday Invitational title and started 5-0 in Carolina Conference play. They endured a couple of "road bumps" against county rival and postseason qualifiers Southern Wayne and Charles B. Aycock, which didn't sit well with the fans.
However, Reynell and the players survived the criticism. They soothed the fans' tempers with regular-season and tournament titles in conference play, and followed that expected success with a sectional championship -- the program's first since 2003.
Now, the Cougars will play for a state championship Saturday.
Goldsboro (23-7 overall) opposes No. 2-ranked Monroe High School at 2:30 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill. It's the Cougars' fourth trip to the state finals since the Norvell T. Lee era.
"I'm just impressed with the kids ... the family chemistry that they have," said Reid. "I haven't seen anyone bicker or argue on the court. Off the court, they're a tight-knit group. Once you get that family camaraderie, that builds confidence on whatever the playing surface because you trust that man next to you."
And they trust Reynell.
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