2013 KHQA Boys Basketball Coach of the Year: BRIAN REA, Payson-Seymour


BRIAN REA, Payson Seymour


The easy argument here would be to simply suggest that as the last boys team standing, the spoils go to the victors. But that description does a disservice to what Brian Rea has truly accomplished at Payson-Seymour in very short order. That being: building a true, relevant Basketball Culture as opposed to just a successful program. The Indians may well be on state radar now, on the heel's of a first ever Elite Eight appearance, but more importantly, the guts of the program have been strengthened locally in every way. From a player's standpoint, the call to excellence; the precedent for hard work and the commitment to not letting a growing tradition die has never been more tangible. Kids have taken ownership in the program and are embracing things like Coach Rea's Cross Fit Style Workouts and busy summer travel schedules because there is positive peer pressure to do so. These steps have already proven their value in pushing the program to new heights. And now each successive group of Indian players wants to do what is in their power to break the next program barrier. There is also the reinvigorated fan culture. For three years running now, Payson fans have been as well traveled and enthusiastic as any in our area. This is a basketball loving community that never before has really had this level basketball team to puff its chest out about. And Coach Rea has astutely recognized the importance of embracing that kinship, even having his kids go out prior to their Sectional Semifinal with Elmwood to greet and thank all the blue clad cheerers in the stands. And to be honest, I think that has been a real sign of growth in Brian Rea himself. Clearly, he hasn't "mellowed" as he remains as fierce and competitive a skipper as their is in our area. But he has opened up more and worked hard to let people see the fun element in his program, be it style of play, pre-game festivities, or embracing the totality of the basketball experience beyond just the five guys on the court and I think that has better endeared those outside his inner circle to his cause. Obviously, he's a very savvy, smart coach who runs a complex high school system. But Brian Rea has also proven to be a guy with a big picture understanding and a guy who fiercely cares about cultivating not only great players out his program, but great kids. His evolution as a coach has been something really unique to watch and it's neat watching successful people morph in every career way into their better selves. I think Brian Rea is the guy who has finally found the perfect stage, the perfect fit, and the perfect situation to prove to people that his core beliefs work and are worth imparting to young people. And he's done so in a way that maybe he would not have been able to as successful if his career has started "easier" or without adversity. The really brilliant job Coach Rea did this season was the sum total of a whole range of professional life experiences. And in the end, they have helped Brian cross the finish line first this season. That should be an inspiration to every young coach or aspiring teacher who wonders, against some of the negatives that are inherent in the job, if it's all worth it. Brian Rea's 2013 body of work clearly demonstrates the light at the end of the sometimes thankless tunnel.

Runner-Up: ANDY ANDERSON, Canton

Viewer's Vote: ANDY ANDERSON, Canton


Past Winners:

2012-Ryan Wood, Marion County

2011-Jeff Abell, Winchester West Central

2010-Brad Tomhave, Pittsfield

2009-Clay Vass, Central Lee

2008-Jesse Crawford, Knox County

2007-Dave Phelps, Brown County

2006-Andy Anderson, Canton

2005-Steve Carvajal, North Shelby

2004-Brian Meny, Van-Far

2003-Steve Carvajal, North Shelby

2002-Scott Douglas, QND

2001-Darin Powell, Hannibal

2000-Sean Taylor, Macomb

1999-Hal Shaver, South Shelby

1998-Reno Pinkston, Nauvoo-Colusa

1997-Jeff Dahl, Warsaw