Keeping Score with Chip Ainsworth: Jim Reid a deserving honoree

Published: 04-05-2024 1:20 PM

Good morning!
Sunday at Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke, Jim Reid will be honored by the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Football Foundation, together with seven others who will be feted for their contributions to the sport.

Reid has come full circle. A Medford native, he played safety for coach Walter Abbott at Maine and co-captained the Black Bears his senior year in 1972. Afterward he came to UMass for his master’s degree in sport management and was a grad assistant for UMass Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson.

He stayed to be linebackers coach and defensive coordinator, and in 1986 was named head coach after Bob Stull left for Texas El Paso. I profiled Reid for The Recorder and contacted Walter Abbott for background. After the usual plaudits Abbott told a story that captured Reid’s intensity. During practice one day, he blew an assignment. They ran it again and he blew it again. “Jim got up and sprinted into a telephone pole,” said Abbott. “He knocked himself out.”

Reid’s Minutemen won three Yankee Conference titles, but in 1991 the athletic director told him he was losing his scholarships.

Reid protested. He’d already offered them to his recruits, but business was business and the department was making budget cuts. Reid quit on the spot. “They’ll forget you the moment you walk out that door,” said the AD.

Reid kept walking. “I thought I’d be at UMass forever,” he said. Instead, he’s coached at nine colleges and universities and was the outside linebackers coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2008-09. In 2013 when he was at Iowa, 247Sports named him the linebackers coach of the year.

Two years ago, UMass coach Don Brown asked the 73-year-old Reid to be an offensive analyst, and his film breakdowns helped UMass upset Army last season. He commutes between Amherst and Cape Cod where he lives with his wife Judy. They have three grown children.

The Henry Butova Award honors those for what they’ve done outside the locker room and away from the chalkboard. Over the years Reid has visited players and colleagues in hospitals and helped others who are down on their luck.

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He was coaching Richmond in 2003 when he heard that longtime trainer Vic Keedy was laid up at Sunbridge Care in Hadley. The Spiders were in Amherst that year, and after the game Reid asked the bus driver to stop at Sunbridge. He walked into Keedy’s room, pulled open the shades and — surprise! — the entire Spiders football team was outside his window cheering him. Keedy passed away three weeks later.

“Jim is thoroughly deserving,” said Foundation member Tim Schmitt. “This award isn’t for coaching, though he’s certainly put in the work, but for what he’s done to help others in the game of football.”


Also Sunday at Wyckoff, Noah Gamache of Pioneer and GHS football will receive the Francis X. Keating Award for overcoming adversity. A Northfield native, Gamache’s leg was amputated when he was nine years old.

Gamache had been treated at a Shriner’s hospital and was asked to speak to players before the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University.

“I have fallen in love with football,” he told the Rutland Herald.

Asked to comment, GHS coach Mike Kuchieski texted: “Tough kid, O-line, D-line. Captain.”


Anybody seen “The Dynasty: New England Patriots” on Apple TV? 

Here’s Charlie Weis’s take on “Airing It Out” with Bob Papa on Sirius-XM:  “I was disgusted. They didn’t accentuate the good things. They accentuated the bad things. This was about Spygate. This was about Deflategate. This was about Tommy and Bill having friction at the end, and Kraft came to the rescue.”

Weis was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator from 2000-2004 when they won three Super Bowls. He wasn’t contacted to appear on “Dynasty” and there’s no mention of him in the 10-part series.

“Jonathan Kraft is a star of the show,” said Weis. “I’m sitting there watching this, I’m thinking, ‘Really?’ Is this a Kraft Family Legacy Documentary? Where’s Troy Brown? Where’s Kevin Faulk? Where’s Matt Light? Where’s Vince Wilfork and Willie McGinest? Why aren’t they talking about those guys?

“They talk about how we’re family oriented and my family’s staying in some sleazeball hotel,” Weis said of Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. “They brought in a food truck and gave our families end zone tickets.”

Dante Scarnecchia, the only assistant coach in the Patriots Hall of Fame, joined Weis and Papa and defended Bill Belichick. “Bill is the easiest coach I ever worked for. You always knew what he wanted and what he expected, and to me that made everything easy. I loved my time with Bill and I think the world of him. They interviewed Rodney Harrison and Devin McCourty for five hours and all that comes out of it is the negative stuff? They’re outraged.”

As for who keyed the team’s success, Tom Brady or Belichick, field goal kicker Adam Vinatieri said they both did. “Iron sharpens iron. They were both alpha males that wanted to win. It could’ve been 80-20 positive and it turned out 20-80 negative. It was hard to watch.”


The North Valley Bears are at Worcester State today to defend their Special Olympics floor hockey championship. “It’s all coaching,” joked Terry Kennedy who’s coached daughter Missie for 23 years and is helped by longtime assistant Ray Augistine and part-timer Kelly Hudson.

The Bears practice at Deerfield Academy. “Jan Flaska is the principle contact at DA. Jan was a three-sport star at Bowdoin and wears many hats. He organizes the student volunteers and stops by practice and was responsible for getting the track & field Special Olympics to DA.”


Mike Cadran checked in to say the only Western Mass. team to win a hoops state title was the Hoosac Valley girls (23-3). “New Mission, formerly Hyde Park High School, knocked out Pioneer in boys D5. They had been D3 until this year, but under the new C.E.M. formula they moved to D5 and won it all.

“Nantucket boys had to travel to Great Barrington to play Monument Mountain, 227 miles by boat and bus one-way took five hours, 45 minutes.”


Pioneer has two new identical batting cages, one for baseball the other for softball. Commercial batting cage kits cost upward of $4,000 but superintendent Patricia Kinsella simply said, “We put it in the budget. Volunteers worked on installation. I saw them working way too hard. I think we’re hiring a crew to do the softball cage.”


SQUIBBERS: Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold after Collin Graf went to the box for taking out BC’s Ryan Leonard: “The kid’s been diving the whole game!” … Keeping Denver at 1-1 for nearly five periods was an accomplishment for a UMass hockey team that was 40-1 to win the national title. … St. Bonaventure AD Joe Manherz abruptly “resigned” after he gave ESPN the scoop he’d turned down an invite to play in the NIT before first telling the coaches and players. … Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras demolished the penalty box camera in Seattle on March 29. “This is a young man clearly in need of a new beginning,” wrote the NY Post’s Larry Brooks of the former BU product.  …. The Post’s Page Six reported that standup comic Jasmin Brown and her boyfriend Cam Newton recently celebrated the birth of a child, her first and his eighth. …  Fox News anchor Brett Baier and Clemson hoops coach Brad Brownell were frat brothers at DePauw University. … John Sterling’s home-run call after Alex Verdugo’s two-run blast put the Yankees ahead of the D-backs on Wednesday: “Alex Verdugo… Alexander the Great!” … To every copy editor’s relief, the Arizona Cardinals have released cornerback Qwuantrezz Knight.

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached at