HERMON, Maine — Seven months after his resignation as the boys varsity basketball coach at Bangor High School, there remains a bittersweet tinge in Roger Reed’s voice when the conversation turns toward that topic.
He’s interested in how his former players are faring this winter, but disappointed he isn’t still there to guide them.
Reed, who retired from a 47-year teaching career last spring, had planned to come back to coach the Bangor basketball team for a 28th year and add to a run that already had produced a 457-103 record, eight Class A state championships and 10 Eastern Maine titles since the start of the 1985-1986 campaign.
But when requested by Bangor school officials last spring to choose between coaching the Rams or his pursuit of a seat in the Maine Legislature amid concerns about whether he could handle the demands of both responsibilities during the winter when the Legislature is in regular session and basketball season is at a fever pitch, Reed reluctantly stepped down.
Since then he has won both primary and general-election races to represent District 23 (Hermon, Carmel, Etna and Stetson) in the Maine House and is now set to report for duty in Augusta next week.
The Carmel resident also has remained close to basketball as an assistant coach working under his son Mark, the boys varsity basketball coach at Hermon High School.
“I’m enjoying being out here on the old hardwood everyday,” said Reed this week. “It’s been a good fit with Mark. He does a great job coaching out here and the kids have been great. It’s kind of a quiet, nice opportunity, I think.”
It’s an assignment that has provided some solace but certainly not full satisfaction for the elder Reed, a head coach at the high school and college levels for more than four decades who compiled a combined 571-201 record during high school stints at Bangor and Bangor Christian.
“It’s been fun,” said Reed, a 2006 inductee into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. “I think I’ve always known that I would probably coach next to Mark sooner or later. It turned out to be sooner than later, but I know he’s doing a good job and the kids are doing well so I’m happy for them.”
The Reeds last worked this closely in a basketball sense in 1993, when Roger Reed coached a Bangor team led by his son to the school’s first Class A state championship since 1959.
Mark Reed, a first-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine guard on that 1993 team who went on to play Division I college basketball at Liberty University, knows his father would rather still be running his own program, but he’s appreciative of the chance to work with him.
“He’s obviously contributing in a lot of ways,” said Mark Reed on Monday just after Hermon defeated Old Town 59-51 to improve its record to 4-2. “He’s working a lot with the post players, and what the kids can gain from his experience in the game alone is good for them.
“He’s been here for every practice and every game and hasn’t missed a thing. It’s been great.”