Area coach hangs up his clipboard

Coach Clyde Reynolds (right) stands with one of his former players Rodney White.

Area coach hangs up his clipboard
February 07
12:10 2023

For Clyde Reynolds, basketball is not just a game but more of a way of life. After nearly 40 years in the coaching ranks, Reynolds has chosen to retire from competitive coaching and focus on his family.

Reynolds coached at several locations in and around the county and even spent time coaching kids at the W.R. Anderson Recreation Center. Many of his years were spent as an assistant, but the impact he has made on the kids who came through the programs where he coached is immeasurable.

“For one thing, a lot of the kids are different, and I understand that and part of the reason why they are different is because of their approach to learning this game,” Reynolds said about why he chose to retire. “These kids now think they can learn basketball by looking at a mixtape on YouTube. I have never respected it, but that’s how they look at the sport.

“To me, you don’t see value in learning the game and now you can’t tell them nothing. They have a daddy sitting over there that never played trying to tell you that I need to let his son play ‘cause he can shoot. Some of these kids, they just don’t want to do the work. And the ones that do feel like they know everything so you can’t tell them anything and I can’t respect that in any form or fashion, and I am not going to get into it with any parent.”

Reynolds began his coaching career back in 1983 working on the North Forsyth basketball staff led by legendary head coach Olon Shuler. Reynolds says he and Shuler took to one another and that’s how his coaching career got off the ground.

After working under Shuler for six years, Shuler decided to retire in 1990 and Reynolds stated that he, and most others, thought he would be first in line for the head coaching position at North Forsyth; however, that was not the case.

“There were a lot of extenuating circumstances were the reason behind me not getting an opportunity at that school and that really just started a trend where it seemed like every school that had an opening for a basketball coach, I applied for but I was never the person that was there,” Reynolds stated about his career.

“That just gives you the idea of wondering what’s going on. I am thinking it’s something about me. I knew I was qualified, but you knew how long it took me before I got an opportunity to be here as a basketball coach; 19 years.”

After not getting the job with the Vikings, Reynolds took his talents over to Carver High School and coached under another legendary head coach, Alfred Poe. Reynolds says during his three-year tenure there, they had a lot of success with the team and he also learned a lot along the way.  

In 1994, Reynolds was teaching at a local middle school and it was also the same year Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools decided to bring back sports to the middle schools.  Reynolds became the basketball coach at Northwest Middle School and excelled almost immediately.

“This is not bragging because what I am telling you is a fact. There were so many athletes that came through that school and they started with me over there,” said Reynolds. “I only lost four games in four years, but the kids that I had were good.”

Reynolds says players like Travis Holcomb-Faye, A.J. Steele and Rod Dunlap were some of the best players to play during his tenure there. He says there were several other players that were special as well that made his job as coach much easier.

While enjoying success on the middle school level, Reynolds continued to apply for positions around the county hoping to land a job in Forsyth County, which he badly wanted. He says after being turned down by Parkland for the third time, he chose to look outside the county for head coaching positions.

“I told my wife that if I don’t get that job, I am leaving this county. I said, ‘If I can drive somewhere, I am not waiting around for these folks over here,’” Reynolds said. “For me personally, it just meant I am not going to wait around and keep getting the shaft for whatever reason it was and to this day I still don’t know why I was never afforded an opportunity to coach here.”

Soon after not getting the call for the Parkland job, an opportunity presented itself for Reynolds. The position at West Montgomery High School in Mt. Gilead, North Carolina, came open. A friend of Reynolds who was a football coach there told him that he could get the position with his stellar resume. After an introduction to the principal and a formal interview, Reynolds got the job.

Reynolds says he interviewed for the position on a Wednesday and was hired two days later on Friday. It was a 140-mile commute round trip for him, but he was willing to do whatever it took to show what he could do as a head basketball coach.

Reynolds coached at West Montgomery for two years and chose to come back to Forsyth County and started working at Philo Middle School. Mike Pennington was the coach at Parkland at the time and asked Reynolds to come coach the JV team and he happily obliged.  

“I did the JV and I was helping him on varsity. They won the state championship the year I went to Montgomery County and then we went back to the state championship game in 2001 and we lost to West Rowan,” said Reynolds about his return to Winston.

Once again, another head coaching position opened up in the county at East Forsyth. Reynolds was apprehensive about applying for the position due to him not receiving a position earlier in his career, but chose to throw his name in the hat after a conversation with a close friend.

“I wasn’t going to apply because I applied 19 years in a row and never got a job here,” he said about his hesitation to apply for the East Forsyth job. “Alvin Caldwell called and told me to apply for the job because he said he was on the committee. 

“I applied, I got an interview and when I walked into the interview, several of my friends were sitting in there. When I saw them sitting in there, I said, ‘Well, maybe I might have a chance.’ The interview went well and I was ready because when you start applying for jobs and people ask you the same questions, you get an idea and that’s what kind of happened for me. I was called back for a second interview and the next Wednesday I got the call that I got the job. That is how I got into Winston-Salem/Forsyth County as a coach. It took me 20 years.”

Reynolds was at East Forsyth from 2002-2010. He was head coach for the Eagles for seven of those years. He says East Forsyth is not like how it is now with them being somewhat of a powerhouse team in football and basketball. Back then, Reynolds stated that the Eagles were kind of a “doormat.”

Those first two years at East Forsyth were hard for Reynolds as he only won four games. He says he knew there was more talent in the school, he just had to go out and find it. He connected with head football coach Todd Willert to try and bring some of the football players on to the basketball court. He was able to bring in some of that talent from the football team that turned his basketball program around, even winning a Frank Spencer title along the way.

Reynolds was happy with his retirement in 2010 but he received a call from Billy Martin, head coach at R.J. Reynolds High School who asked him to come out of retirement to help with his program. Reynolds’ son was also entering high school at R.J. Reynolds, so he told Martin he would help out with the team until his son graduates in 2015.

“I told Bill that I would help him for those three years but when he (son) graduates, I was going to be done, But guess where I was … I was there until last year,” Reynolds said jokingly. “I’ve always enjoyed the game, but I’ve enjoyed more developing and working with and getting to know the kids.

“A lot of people knew me, and a lot of people knew that I thought of myself as a good basketball coach. Did I get the opportunity that I deserve here? No, because sometimes this stuff is political around here. I just felt like my best years were behind me when I finally got an opportunity. The thing is I made the best of my opportunity while I was there.”

Reynolds also lent his coaching talents to the young kids as well. He would routinely help coach the kids at the W.R. Anderson Recreation Center’s basketball league started by the center’s senior supervisor Bryant McCorkle. Reynolds says there were scores of great players that came through the rec center during his time there.

One of the biggest regrets Reynolds has was not coaching on the college level. He feels his basketball knowledge is on par with just about anyone and would have loved to sit on a collegiate bench and possibly even the NBA. He says that will not discount what he has done on the high school level because he feels he left quite a legacy there.

After nearly four decades of coaching, Reynolds is most pleased with running into former players he has coached, and they tell him how much he has impacted their lives in a positive way. 

Now that he is retired, he wants to travel with his wife and spend more time with his grandchildren. He admits that he will miss the camaraderie with the other coaches.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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