CANTON — Perry Reese Jr., the legendary head boys basketball coach at Berlin Hiland, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor early Wednesday morning.
Reese, 47, was admitted to Aultman Hospital on Tuesday after complaining of flu-like symptoms and slight memory loss on Monday. following a series of neurological tests, including a CAT scan and an MRI, doctors confirmed a mass behind his left eye socket.
Exploratory surgery on Wednesday revealed the tumor was malignant and inoperable.
Reese, a Canton native and Canton Timken graduate, came to the eastern Holmes County school prior to the 1984-85 season, following Charles Huggins' successful 2-year stint. Over the last 16 years, Reese has posted a 304-85 record and transformed Hiland into one of the most respected and successful small school programs in the state.
The Hawks have made five of their six state semifinal appearances under Reese, including their third consecutive berth this past season when they lost to eventual state champion Fort Jennings.
Reese authored the program's only state championship in 1992.
Reese's four siblings, sisters Bonnie, Audrey and Jennifer, and brother Chris have been at the hospital throughout his stay.
Reese had limited mobility in his right arm, but was coherent and resting comfortably when nearly 250 former players and friends visited him during the late afternoon and evening on Wednesday.
He was to undergo treatments today and is expected to be released from the hospital Friday afternoon.
Reese will be placed under 24-hour care at home and will work with Hospice of Holmes County.