hawkhoops.com | Perry Reese Jr 1952-2000
Herald's cut put Reese on coaching trail


Former Canton Timken basketball coach Fred Herald doesn't remember much about Perry Reese, Jr. as a basketball player.

Or maybe he does, because he cut him as a freshman.

However, he remembers other important things that define Reese even to this day.

"Perry was a really, really good kid," said Herald. "He was a good student, a good school citizen.

"But, he always gives me credit for him going into coaching because I cut him. He tells that to everybody. People look me up and ask me, 'Did you cut him?'

"And I tell them, 'Yes, I did.'"

Reese, of course, went on to become one of the big-name coaches in Ohio, making Hiland year after year into one of the state's powers.

But, Herald was as shook as anyone when news broke yesterday that the 47-year-old Reese has been diagnosed with an inoperable and malignant brain tumor, and it was evident in the tone of his voice as he spoke yesterday, flitting back on warm memories and today's harsh reality.

Herald had an aside to the story of cutting Reese.

"That's how I got started in coaching," said Herald. "My coach cut me my senior year and then came to me two weeks later and ask me if I'd like to coach a freshmen team. That's how I got started.

"So when Perry tells the story about him being cut, I've told him I'm no stranger to that. Welcome to the crowd!"

Herald, who got his start in coaching under Wooster native Kenny Kate in 1951, took over the head reins in 1961 and remained at Timken until 1976, when he became athletic director.

He remained in that post until 1990 and a year later was voted to the school board at Timken, a position which he still holds.

Herald hadn't forgotten about Reese once his success came about at Hiland, and in fact spoke with him last year about the Timken opening.

"I had contacted him with the permission of Hiland's superintendent to apply for the Timken job," Herald said. "He wanted to coach the team he just had (which went to the Div. IV Final Four for the third consecutive season) and finish them out.

"After that, the job opened up again and I called him a month ago and asked him to apply. I called (the board office on Tuesday) to see if he had applied and the person who answered said he didn't. Then I heard about Perry (Wednesday) and it all ties in. He forgot.

"His intentions were good. He was that type of guy. He was simply impeccable. I really thought he'd be good for the job. I just feel very sad because he's such a good guy."

Reese graduated with Herald's son, Paul, in 1970. The last time he saw him personaly was when the Hawks played in the tournament last year.

"I sat up in the corner of the Fieldhouse and after the game I talked with him," Herald said. "I didn't know if I should go into the locker room, but I went in and we talked. He was very nice and he talked to me lovingly almost.

"He seemed very happy I came in."

What equally impressed Herald was how Reese handled his squad.

"Obviously, he's good for kids," Herald added. "His relationship with the Berlin community amazed me and anybody can see that. I talked with the superintendent before talking with Perry (about the basketball position)... and he spoke glowingly of him last summer.

"I thought he'd be ideal for the Timken job... He is a class guy. He's not looking for fame for himself and he's done a fantastic job at Berlin."

Now, all Herald can do is offer his prayers and thought to those of the Hiland community.

"I heard about it and I couldn't believe it," Herald said. "I thought it was just a rumor. Then I had a call, then a second, then a third... and now you confirm it.

"It's just horrible."