Mike Reyes, Stonington High School Boys Basketball Coach

Mike Reyes is the boys basketball coach at Stonington High School, in which he has lead his team into the postseason in each year of his career.  The Bears won the ECC Medium Division in 2008 and 2009, also advancing to the CIAC state semi-finals in 2008.  In 2011 the Bears made it to the ECC finals before losing to eventual state champion New London.


Bill Buscetto:  How long have you been the Head Coach at Stonington?

Mike Reyes:  This is my 6th season

BB: Did you have prior coaching experience before coming to Stonington?

MR: I was an assistant coach for 4 years at Chariho High School in RI

BB: What made you want to become a high school coach?

MR: I have always loved the game and knew I wanted a career in education.  I played in college and knew towards the end of my career that I’d want to get into coaching once I started teaching.  Once I got my first teaching job at Westerly Middle School, I helped out with the team and have never looked back since.

BB: How would you describe your coaching style?
MR: Not too sure… I’d like to think that if someone watched any of our games, they’d walk away saying that our kids played always played hard, especially on defense.

BB:What things are most important to you that your players take from your coaching?
MR: How to put your head down, grind it out and work as a team… especially through adversity

BB: What was the funniest moment of your career?

MR: A couple of years ago we were preparing for an upcoming opponent really late in the year.  As I’m going over the scouting report I talked about how the team liked to run the “flex offense” vs our man to man defense.  As I continue to talk, one of my seniors raises his hand and asks, “Coach… What’s the flex???”  Now, throughout the season, whenever we’d be playing a team and they’d begin to run the “flex offense”, I’d scream it out a few times, the kids would acknowledge me and then seemed to adjust… this had to have happened at least six or seven times throughout the year… Anyway, I look at the kid and ask him what he meant… He says, “You always scream it out during games, but I have no idea what you’re talking about.”  Then another kid, a senior, shouts out “Me too!  I always just thought I was the only one who didn’t know what the flex was!  That’s why I never said anything!”  Finally two other seniors acknowledged he didn’t know it either…  We still joke about it today, anytime an opponent runs it as an offense.

BB: What was the most embarrassing moment of your career?

MR: Getting asked to go on a date by a radio announcer from Plainfield during my first season as coach… I lied and said I had a girlfriend…

BB: You realize you are going to break her heart if she reads this and finds out you lied?

MR: I’ll take my chances.

BB: Give me a favorite or top moment of your coaching career.

MR: Beating a Shane Gibson {Division 1 player now at Sacred Heart University} lead Killingly team (in Killingly) my second year coaching with 3 starters out of the line-up and last year’s run through the ECC and State tourney.

BB: What is something nobody knows about you, in regards to your coaching background or position?

MR: That every night for two weeks at the end of the season, I stay up designing and painting basketballs for gifts on senior night.  I should be doing it right now, but instead I’m having this interview…

BB: You need to learn to delegate, have your assistant’s do that stuff.

MR: Bill, you know my assistants.  Can you imagine Dip {Kevin Dipollino} painting basketballs, it would look like a kindergarten art class gone wild.

BB: Fair point.

BB: What is a favorite story you like to tell people about a former team or player?

MR: I like to remind my teams about that win up in Killingly when we’re facing a really tough challenge.

BB: Give me one story about officials, good, bad or ugly.

MR: When I was a freshman in college, we were playing a conference rival and the refs were absolutely terrible.  You could tell my coach was gonna keep pushing until he got a T.  Late in the first half, the other team goes on a run and gets a few shaky calls to help… my coach can’t take it anymore.  As he is cursing out the ref he starts to unbuckle his belt for some unknown reason…  The ref gives him another T and kicks him out of the game.  I’m not sure what the ref said when he kicked my coach out, but my coach lost it!  He went to go after the ref and as he did, our assistants went to pull him back.  In the midst of all the action, my coach’s belt was still unbuckled and because he was so animated, his pants started to fall off.  They almost made it to the middle of his thighs… Our assistants dragged him off the court as he tried to pull his pants back up.  It was hysterical…

BB: What coach do or did you always enjoying competing against the most?

MR: For the most part, the guys in the ECC have been great to me.  But I’d say I enjoy coaching against Bill Strand of Windham and Scott DeRosier of Killingly the most.  They’re both great coaches, but more importantly, great people.

BB: The best part about your coaching job is…

MR: Seeing kids after they’ve graduated from high school and listening to them talk about how some of the things they learned or did on the basketball team, still helps them today in their lives.

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