Reese leaves strong legacy
MCHS head baseball coach steps aside after 38 years on staff
Marshall County High School lost one of the longtime faces of Tiger athletics when baseball coach Steve Reese recently resigned.
Having been a part of MCHS' baseball program for previous 38 years, Reese spent the last five years as the head coach of the Tigers and compiled a 105-53-1 record during that span. Under Reese's guidance, Marshall County advanced to the Region tournament three times, won one District regular season title, captured one District tournament championship, and reached the Sectional round of the playoffs once.
"I gave myself five years to get to the State tournament and that didn't materialize so I figured it was time to move on and let someone else try it," said Reese. "It was a tough decision because I love baseball. I still want to continue to work with kids on an individual basis. Even though I won't be coaching, I still want to help kids get better at the game. I didn't anticipate coaching this long, but I just love the game so much and being around the players."
Prior to that, Reese served as an assistant coach under legendary head coach Joe George from 1977 to 2009 and helped build one of the most successful high school baseball programs in the state of Tennessee.
"Obviously, you've got to have good assistants because as the head coach you've got so many other things to do," said George. "Steve was a big help and contributed a lot to the success of the program."
During that 33 year period, the Tigers captured 22 District tournament titles, claimed 21 Region tournament crowns, advanced to the State tournament 12 times, and won three Class AA State championships to go along with four runner-up and three third place finishes.
Years of success
"Over the years we've had some outstanding kids that loved baseball and wanted to do what it took to win," said Reese. "Kids here grow up wanting to be a part of the baseball program and are expected to win."
The Tigers began their dynasty in 1983 when they posted a 31-0 record en route to capturing their first baseball State championship.
"One of the best memories I had as a coach was the 31-0 team we had in 1983 and Fred Mustain broadcasting the championship game back home," said Reese. "We had been building for five years at that time and had been steadily climbing up the ladder. Winning that championship showed that our program had arrived."
Marshall County continued to have sustained success throughout the rest of the 1980s and early 90s before winning back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994.
"The thing about the 93 and 94 teams was that we had a bunch of kids that had won Babe Ruth State titles and had experienced a lot of success," said Reese. "During the 94 State title run, a coach scouted us for a team that we were going to face in the playoffs. When the other coach asked him how his team matched up with us, he told him, "You can't beat them. They're just too good.""
A 1968 graduate of Marshall County High School, Reese played American Legion baseball and in the Lewisburg Men's League his first three years at MCHS since the Tiger baseball program had been shutdown at the time.
Marshall County brought the baseball program back during Reese's senior year and he made the most of his opportunity, as he earned All-District honors and signed a scholarship to play at Martin Methodist, which was a community college at the time.
Reese was also a standout in the college ranks and was named to the All-Conference Team both seasons at Martin Methodist while leading the league in batting his sophomore year with a gaudy .494 average.
"The thing I loved about baseball is that you don't have to be 6'5" or weigh 300 pounds to be good at it. A smaller guy can excel at it," said Reese.
After using up his eligibility at Martin Methodist, Reese attended Middle Tennessee State University, but gave up playing baseball at the college level despite receiving a scholarship offer from the school.
Reese then graduated from MTSU in 1974 with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Education before earning a Masters degree in Administration and Supervision in 1975.
Years of teaching
Upon receiving his Masters degree, Reese began teaching at Marshall County High School during the 1976-77 school year. While at MCHS, Reese primarily taught Health and Physical Education to go along with his coaching duties, but also taught English, History, and World Geography at various times.
Reese was on the coaching staffs of two other highly successful athletic programs as well during his tenure at Marshall County. He served as an assistant coach under football coach Bob Edens from 1980-1996 and helped the Tigers bring home their lone State title on the gridiron in 1984 while also helping girls basketball coach Jerry Adams from 1980 to 1985, which saw the Tigerettes reach the Class AA State tournament twice during that time.
"I've been fortunate to have been involved in every baseball State title we've won and the one State title we won in football. I just loved the competition," said Reese.
Although his long association with Marshall County athletics has officially come to an end, Reese has left behind a legacy of winning that future coaches at MCHS should hope to emulate.