Michael Reese (‘86) looks back with champion pride, winning legacy after more than 30-year career with Biloxi Public Schools
After reaching unimaginable heights as a coach and educator in the Biloxi Public School District, Michael Reese, an Alcorn State University alumnus and Moss Point, Mississippi native, is closing the chapter on his coaching and teaching career.
The all-purpose coach is retiring from his duties at the end of this academic school term. Reese, the head coach for the Biloxi High School Boy's Track & Field program, is going out after leading the team to a top 10 finish in state championships. The finish is one of several track & field district titles under Reese's leadership.
During his tenure in Biloxi, he also served as a football, boy's ninth grade and assistant varsity basketball coach. He led the ninth grade boy's basketball team to numerous regional and district championships. He assisted in leading the varsity squad to a state championship in 2009.
In his 32-year career – 30 in Biloxi and two in Vicksburg, Mississippi – Reese has made a satisfying impact on his students. He takes pride in showing them the keys to success in academics and athletics.
"I feel that I have had a positive influence on education and athletics in my years of service," said Reese, who earned a bachelor's degree in comprehensive health and physical education in 1986. "I've had many students and student-athletes under my watch who earned full academic and athletic scholarships."
Coaching for that many years had its challenges. In every loss that Reese's teams suffered, he learned the importance of good sportsmanship. And with every win, he was able to make dominance the standard for his teams' performance.
"My journey throughout coaching has been an ongoing learning experience. I learned how to take a loss and also how to motivate my teams to dominate their opponent. I developed a winning culture with the teams I coached."
Winning in sports isn't the only feat that Reese has received accolades for in his career. In 2009, his exceptional teaching received applause when he was named Comprehensive Health Teacher of the Year by the state of Mississippi. Being awarded was a testament to his constant effort to motivate his students to pursue excellence in all facets of their lives.
"I also took the teaching aspect of my career seriously. I strongly encouraged all of my students to pursue a college education. In motivating my students, I remind them that someone else is trying to be better than them. My questions to them are, ‘Are you going to let them be better than you today?' ‘Are you going to graduate with one of the highest or lowest GPAs in your class?' I tell them that if they're not working on getting better, then they will get worse."
Reese's will to inspire others stem from those who helped him along his journey. He appreciates his supporters for showing him the importance of giving back.
"I remember all of the people that helped me to become a better person in all facets of life. I, in turn, try to help others reach that goal. When my students and members of my teams speak of me, I know that I have left a positive influence on them. Life is too short to be negative. I believe it's better to build bridges, not walls."
The winning attitude that Reese possesses was instilled in him by his parents, Carlton and Gladys Reese. His father was a two-time All SWAC player in 1956 and 1957, and his mother had a career as a governmental biologist. Also, his godfather is Alcorn football legend, Jack Spinks.
Those powerful influences fueled Reese's pursuit of his dreams. After graduating from high school, he went on to play for the 1984 Braves football team that won the SWAC Championship and was named National Black College Champions. It's only right that he would create a path of dominance in his career.
"The championship fire was lit under me at an early age. I've always wanted to be the best at everything. I don't mind saying how proud I am of my heritage. The bar was set pretty high for me, so expectations were higher for me as a student and athlete."
Time is precious, which is why Reese looks forward to all the time he will have to spend enjoying life with the people he loves most.
"Time to spend as you wish without obligations is very precious time. I'm looking forward to spending time with my wife Brenda and the rest of my family, friends, and teammates. I can't wait to tailgate at Moss Point High and Alcorn football games. I look forward to traveling to all of the places I've never been to before. This is a very special time in my life, and I'm extremely proud to say that I'm retiring."