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Familiar face back with the Bulldogs

Alan Reed, who last coached Zephyrhills in the 1980s, is set to take over again.

Published April 7, 2006

ZEPHYRHILLS - If there was any question in athletic director Craig Milburn's mind about the urgency with which Zephyrhills needed to name a boys basketball coach, it was erased by the four calls he received Thursday morning regarding scheduling.

Milburn didn't waste another minute, offering the job to longtime Zephyrhills resident and two-time former Bulldogs coach Alan Reed, who has worked with the West Coast Officials Association for 20 years.

"The main thing is he's here and ready to go and not going anywhere," Milburn said. "That helped a lot."

Reed, 58, led Zephyrhills to 116 wins from 1975-79 and '81-86. The Bulldogs went 17-6 in his first season and 21-7 in '76-77, winning the district championship and upsetting Clearwater Central Catholic, then the No.1 team in the state, before losing in regionals.

He "left for greener pastures" after the '79 season and worked as an assistant on Lakeland Kathleen's 28-0 squad before returning to Zephyrhills the following year. He again departed after the '86 season, saying he and the school "needed a change."

But Reed never lost his passion for coaching basketball - he said he "coached in his mind while officiating" - and decided the time was right for a return.

"I am super excited about it and champing at the bit to get started," Reed said.

Zephyrhills had been waiting to see what teaching positions would be available.

But, realizing it could be July or August before staff members who applied for jobs at Wiregrass Ranch learn their fate, the five-person search committee decided to move quickly to find a replacement for Gene Pieper, who resigned in February.

For now, Reed will continue to teach physical education and coach girls volleyball and boys track at Stewart Middle.

Pieper, 63, went 10-43 the past two seasons. A member of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, he failed to duplicate the success he had at Wausaukee, which won 13 conference championships and a state title in his 27 seasons.

Milburn said he sought a replacement who would stress discipline and coach out of a love for the game, not for a supplement.

He said Reed laid out a plan that will get Zephyrhills' young players started with weight training in the next month, followed by a "solid and lengthy" summer program that builds on the work Pieper already has done.

"It's obvious they've struggled a little bit," Reed said. "I hope to bring some stability to it and get into the community and hopefully we can get excited about it.

"I believe in fundamentals. I believe in discipline. I believe in defense. The game has evolved a little bit since I actively coached on the high school level, but I've seen all the evolvement with the officiating. The thing that hasn't changed, no matter who you talk to, is fundamentals."

Boys basketball positions in Pasco County pay about $2,200, according to Milburn.

[Last modified April 7, 2006, 01:31:16]

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