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Sidelined by the pandemic after 47 seasons, Jim Reid vows he’ll ‘be back coaching’ football again

Jim Reid from his time as football coach at the University of Massachusetts.
Jim Reid from his time as football coach at the University of Massachusetts.UMass Athletics

Jim Reid was a Thanksgiving Day game hero for undefeated Medford High in 1967, scoring twice against visiting Malden. He was an inspirational captain at the University of Maine who came back to lead the Yankee Conference in interceptions after off-season surgery for a ruptured spleen.

When he was honored by the New England Football Writers with its Senior Achievement Award, Reid made a prediction during his acceptance speech that was spot-on.

``I’m going to go into coaching and I’m going to strive to be a great coach,” said Reid, who helped out in 1973 as an assistant at Maine’s spring practice, the launching pad for coaching at the college and professional level for 47 consecutive seasons.


In December 2019, after Boston College hired Jeff Hafley as head coach, Reid, BC’s defensive ends coach, and other assistants were let go.

Reid was contacted by University of Massachusetts head coach Walt Bell and helped out last February in Amherst, evaluating potential defensive recruits.

``I had planned coming back for spring practice, but the pandemic struck and I never returned,” said Reid, 70, citing advice from his doctor to take time off until he can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

``I had to pass up the opportunity, so this has been a time for reflection,” said Reid, who resides in Dennis with his wife, Judy, whom he dated in high school.

``I’ve read my playbooks from the past, talked to players about what worked well in our programs, and I’ve kept active by running and chopping wood.”

Reid was a two-time Yankee Conference coach of the year at UMass after serving as an assistant coach from 1973 to 1985.

“Amherst is a special place for us, it’s where we raised our family,” said Reid, who upon his brief return there 10 months ago, made sure he dropped into the Atkins Farms Market for coffee and his favorite cider doughnut.


``Football is the greatest game ever invented,” said Reid, who was head coach at UMass Amherst from 1986 to 1991, the University of Richmond from 1995 to 2003, and Virginia Military Institute from 2006 to 2007. ``It demands discipline and respect for the people you’re playing with.”

``I’ll be back coaching. This is just a pause, not a retirement.”

Who should we catch up with? Contact Marvin Pave with suggestions at marvin.pave@rcn.com.