All-Area: Reynell is News-Argus boys' coach of the year
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 20, 2010 11:06 PM
The sign outside Goldsboro High School told the whole story.
Four days after its boys' basketball team came up short in its quest for a state championship, the school's marquee was still proudly advertising the Cougars' 1-A title showdown with Monroe in Chapel Hill.
It was just another of the countless indicators that first-year head coach Patrick Reynell's arrival at Goldsboro was just as much about a healing process as it was about basketball.
The Cougars' fourth head coach in as many seasons, the 29-year-old Reynell guided Goldsboro to a 23-8 record and the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
Reynell is the 2010 News-Argus All-Area boys' basketball coach of the year.
Reynell was hired in September after former Cougars' head coach Chris Cherry resigned in May to take the head coaching job at South Central. Cherry was the third coach in three seasons to walk away from the Goldsboro program.
After spending five seasons as an assistant coach at Charles B. Aycock, Reynell admits he was nervous as a first-year head coach about taking over a program where trust had been broken.
"I was definitely nervous when I first came in about how I would be received by the guys," said Reynell. "Once we started workouts in October, I knew just by the enthusiasm they have and by the enthusiasm I have toward the game that we would mesh well off the bat."
The Cougars opened the season with a loss at Rocky Mount Prep and began the season an uncharacteristic 3-2. Goldsboro got seniors Demetrio Irby, Corteiz Sprangle and Matt Woodard back from the football team in early December and started to mesh. Reynell's pressing defense began to take shape and the Cougars hit their stride.
"It was very important," said Reynell. "Especially, with the senior leadership we got with Demetrio Irby and his defensive leadership. It wasn't easy at first. People thought they would just come right off the football field and click in basketball.
"It probably took four or five games for them to get their basketball conditioning. We were probably a six or seven man rotation without them."
Well aware of the always-high expectations at tradition-rich Goldsboro, Reynell focused on the responsibilities of coaching student-athletes and made academics a priority well before he thought about wins and losses.
"Handling it is not easy," said Reynell. "People always come back to you and say so-and-so is saying this in the community. What people forget is I was hired here as an English teacher first. What they don't realize is that after a win or a loss, is that academically we've also grown as a program.
"I don't let the expectations bother me that much because I know I have my priorities straight and I know the people running this school have their priorities straight."
Having spent five seasons under the tutelage of Aycock head coach David West, Reynell maintains a tight relationship with his former mentor. Perhaps no one was happier to see Reynell's first-year success than West.
"I am very proud of Pat and the fantastic job he has done at Goldsboro High School," said West. "Without a doubt, regardless of only being 29, he is one of the best coaches in the state. Pat is for real, as a coach and as a person.
"GHS got quite a package deal with this guy."
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