BYU basketball coach teams up with sons to build on success

Brigham Young University basketball coach Roger Reid's family stayed together to play together - but only after a tough recruiting battle with some of the nation's top universities.

Coach Reid's sons, Randy and Robbie, are currently sharing in their father's ongoing basketball success. Sophomore Randy is a starting shooting guard on the team, and freshman Robbie is a reserve point guard. Often the brothers are playing at the same time. All the while, the gospel of Jesus Christ helps them keep their basketball shoes anchored firmly down to earth.Research by the BYU sports information office uncovered six other NCAA players around the country currently coached by their fathers. But there is no information indicating that any college coach has ever had two sons playing for him at the same time.

Recruiting his own sons wasn't simply a measure by Coach Reid to hold the family together. He has demonstrated during five years as BYU's head coach that he knows something about talent and winning basketball games. If his current team goes on to win at least 20 games this year and makes it to the NCAA tournament, Reid will be the first in history to accomplish both feats in each of his first five seasons as a head coach.

Nevertheless, some criticism arose when he out-recruited several other top schools around the nation for the services of his two oldest sons. Some people claimed the only reason the young men made the BYU basketball team was because of their genealogy.

Randy and Robbie attended high school in Spanish Fork, located some eight miles south of Provo.

Randy graduated in 1989 as class valedictorian. On the basketball court, he led the state in scoring during his senior season with a 29 points-per-game average and starred on the baseball field as well, leading his team to a state championship.

Then Robbie came along and duplicated every one of those achievements, graduating in 1993.

Randy, a solid-hitting shortstop, had a chance to sign a professional baseball contract coming out of high school. The San Diego Padres thought enough of Robbie's baseball talent (he set a school record by winning 31 games as a pitcher) that they picked him in the 1993 amateur draft.

Randy has been included on the GTE Academic All-District 8 team with a 3.49 GPA, studying pre-med and business.

But even though their abilities were in demand nationwide, they couldn't escape negative comments when they made loyalty to BYU the deciding factor in where to lend their abilities.

Coach Reid said: "There is a lot of criticism that the only reason they've been given an opportunity is because their dad is the coach. But people wouldn't say that if they really understood what opportunities were there for Robbie and Randy, where they could have gone, and who recruited them.

"Randy would have been on a national championship team [if he had chosen North CarolinaT. He knew that. If he had gone to North Carolina last year, he would have had a national championship ring."

Randy wasn't oblivious to the potential for criticism if he went to BYU, and that made the idea of playing for his father a negative factor as he tried to decide whether or not to become a Cougar.

"Growing up, Robbie and I have gone through that," Randy explained. "Every time we made a basket, it was, He can only make a basket because his dad's a basketball coach,' orHe's only good at baseball because his dad played professional baseball. He's got all these opportunities because his daddy's a basketball coach.'

"So we've kind of dealt with that. We just took it with a grain of salt because I don't think that people saw the countless hours and hours and hours of practice, of hard work, of sweat, of going through a lot of struggles and hardships to achieve the things we were able to do and accomplish."

"Obviously," said Robbie, "you had to expect criticism, and I did expect it. There are always going to be people who don't know what's going on and don't have any idea what it takes to be there."

Randy, a 23-year-old who served in the New Jersey Morristown Mission, is articulate and expresses a quiet self-assurance when he speaks. Robbie, though only a 19-year-old freshman, comes across with a bold confidence.

Robbie doesn't believe the competitiveness of sports conflicts with the gospel. "After all, the whole purpose is to win the game of life, and why not win the game of basketball while you're at it," he said.

Robbie never had much of a chance to play basketball with Randy before the two landed at BYU. "Growing up, I was always so much younger that whenever I did play with Randy, it was just as a token," he recalled. "He would let me play on his team, but it wasn't really competitive.

"Now we're so close in athletic age and play similar positions, so it has been really great to play with him."

Although the three Reids are making BYU a bit of a family affair, that wasn't a foregone conclusion when decisions had to be made. But they ultimately all agreed that BYU was the best place for them to be.

When it came time for Randy to sign a letter-of-intent, the schools on his short list were North Carolina, UCLA, Providence and Stanford, along with BYU. All five had the qualities he was looking for in a school, including the offer to play basketball and baseball.

"But the biggest reason that I came to BYU," he explained, "is that first and foremost I felt like I owed it to my Heavenly Father to play at BYU. . . . Heavenly Father has given me all the skills, all the talents, and all the abilities that even allow me to be a basketball player. . . .

"The second reason that I ultimately came to BYU was I felt like I owed it to my family to be at a place where they could watch me play. All the hours that my family has spent supporting me and helping me to be a better person and to be a better player, I just wanted them to be able to see me, not just on TV, but to have a chance to come to the games and be a part of my career. They're the reason why I even had a chance to be there."

Robbie is still eager to pursue a baseball career, and that was a factor in his choice. He narrowed his options to UCLA, Arizona and BYU in part because all three schools would allow him to play basketball and baseball.

"I wanted to play for a good school, and loyalty won out in the end," he explained. ". . . I thought I could have been happy at UCLA or Arizona. But I decided that if I'm going to be using my talents and abilities, which I thought were pretty good, I might as well be doing it for the people that I've grown up around and for a great institution and a great Church."

Whether they played college basketball at BYU or not, the Reid boys had already received some quality coaching in life from their father who served in a bishopric and was a stake high councilor.

Said Robbie: "Our dad taught us gospel principles as well as principles of athletics that are needed to be successful, and a lot of them overlapped. So it was a big plus there."

Coach Reid is well-acquainted with other schools where basketball is all-consuming, where that is all the coach thinks about. Things are different in his life.

"People expect us to be successful here at BYU, too," he said. "And so it is very demanding. But basketball is not the most important thing in my life. It's not the most important thing in Robbie's life. It's not the most important thing in Randy's life.

"I go home from this job and have a family to raise. I've got Church obligations and responsibilities that are a lot more important than basketball; my family, my Church, and then basketball."

He heaped the credit onto his wife, Diane, for helping their children - who also include Darren, 13, and Kelli Ann, 11 - maintain balance in their lives.

"She has really worked hard to keep things in proper perspective," Coach Reid explained. "She gave them piano lessons when they were young and taught them that their Church responsibilities were very important.

"Being a deacon and passing the sacrament was a big deal for the boys. Blessing the sacrament as a priest was, too. The gospel is the most important thing. But we're not a Utopian family. We all go through everyday struggles like everyone else, and that's how we grow and develop."

Randy said: "The Church in our home has always been a center point. I can't remember not attending Church with my family. I remember sitting down and having family home evenings and reading the Book of Mormon.

"The thing that I have always loved about my parents is they provided a strong example by attending their Church meetings, by fulfilling callings dutifully, by doing those kinds of things. We haven't been pushed or coerced. When it came time for me to go on a mission, my parents didn't push me, but I knew what was expected. I knew they hoped that I would serve a mission. But it was my decision."

And now he has another support - the former Erin Berrett whom he married in the Salt lake Temple last August.

"I love Erin more than anything," he said. "Just by having her in my life, it has made me a better student, a better basketball player, a better person. That's what she does for me."

Randy and Robbie Reid are just at the threshold of their BYU era together and can reasonably anticipate a great deal of success. But no matter what happens in the future, they have the gospel to give meaning to their lives. In it, they also have been well-coached.

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