Panthers choose Reed

Former GCC star Jesse Reed named Franklin Regional boys basketball coach

Sat Aug 07, 2021 - 3:04PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Jesse Reed (14) helped lead Greensburg Central Catholic to a PIAA championship appearance in 2011.Jesse Reed (14) helped lead Greensburg Central Catholic to a PIAA championship appearance in 2011.

Last Updated: Fri Aug 20, 2021 - 3:11PM

A couple of years ago, former Greensburg Central Catholic standout Jesse Reed applied for the boys basketball head coach opening at Norwin. Only a few years removed from his professional basketball career overseas, Reed was just cutting his teeth as a coach, and was not selected among the candidates.

Approximately two years later, Reed now has his chance to lead a program, as he was hired earlier this week as the head coach for the Franklin Regional boys. He replaces Steve Scorpion, who was not retained earlier this year after four successful seasons guiding the Panthers.

“Being a head coach at one of the WPIAL schools around here has always been a goal of mine, and I’ve been keeping my eye out for something that would make sense,” Reed detailed. “The blueprint is there. The success has been there. And I just thought it was a great opportunity to try to come in and hopefully build off of that.”

To that point, the Panthers have been a perennial playoff team in recent years, including last campaign, which included a record of 8-8 and a victory in the WPIAL 5A preliminary round. During the 2017-18 season, FR compiled a mark of 20-6 and reached the WPIAL Championship Game.

The location is ideal for Reed, too. Although he recently moved to East Liberty, Reed works for an insurance company that has an office located in Murrysville.

“My coworker, his 12-year-old daughter actually goes to Franklin (Regional). He actually saw the job posting first,” said Reed.

Reed’s coaching experience includes assistant roles at Saint Vincent College and Carnegie Mellon University.

Bearcats head coach DP Harris knew Reed dating back several years, and Reed had familiarity with the college, as his sister previously played there.

“It kind of just worked out perfectly,” said of his time with the Bearcats and Harris. “He basically treated me as the second full-time assistant, where I was doing scouting reports, I was recruiting, I was game planning. There were even times when he was having me run practice.”

In the fall of 2019, Reed joined CMU, and served under Tony Wingen with the Tartans.

Reed’s experience at both stops will pay dividends, especially working with a pair of accomplished coaches.

“The way that they’ve been longtime head coaches; the way that they address the kids; the way that they plan their practices; the way that they go into game planning and scheming,” he said of his biggest takeaways.

At Franklin Regional, Reed will retain assistant coach Joe McGinn, which will help the transition as Reed learns his personnel.

“It’s going to be evaluating my guys and seeing what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are, and then developing a system that is going to put them in the best position to be successful,” he said. “I’m hoping that I can just add some value to these kids’ lives on the court and off the court, where I’m helping them improve as a hooper, but at the same time, I’m helping them improve as a young man and getting them ready for the next step in life.”

Reed can speak from experience, as he enjoyed a prolific career that spanned Saltsburg, Greensburg Central Catholic, the Kiski School, American University, and professionally in Luxembourg.

Reed played the first two years of his high-school career at Saltsburg, competing in the District 6 Heritage Conference. In 2009-10, however, he joined Greensburg Central Catholic, and helped the Centurions compile 19 wins and appearances in both the WPIAL and PIAA quarterfinals in Class AA.

In 2010-11, Reed established himself as one of the best players in Western Pennsylvania, and GCC became one of the top teams in the state. Reed’s individual performance earned him All-State Second-Team honors, and he was a member of the Post-Gazette’s Fab 5. Collectively, Greensburg Central Catholic reached the WPIAL Class AA Championship, playing against Monessen at the Palumbo Center, and the PIAA Championship at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University, facing Imhotep Charter.

In a sense, Reed actually began to develop his coaching traits playing for former successful Centurions head coach Greg Bisignani who was effusive in his praise for his former top scorer.

"Jesse was a coach on the floor when he played for me so I have no doubt he will be a fantastic head coach," Bisignani said. "He is mature beyond his age, has great interpersonal skills, and outstanding basketball knowledge. The combination of his personality, great work ethic, and his outstanding character and integrity, will make his players want to give 100 percent effort and play incredibly hard for him. I'm a very proud ex-coach."

After finishing his high school career with 1,599 points, Reed spent a prep year playing at The Kiski School. From there, he joined American University for the 2012-13 season.

Reed played primarily in a reserve role as a freshman, but he became an integral part of the Eagles during a historic season in 2013-14. Reed started all 33 games that campaign, averaging 13.8 points per game. American enjoyed a turnaround campaign, doubling its win total from the previous season. The Eagles finished second during the regular season, and won the Patriot League Championship, earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Reed enjoyed two more successful seasons at American, finishing his career with 1,405 points over 123 games, earning All-Conference accolades in the process.

After he graduated with a degree in accounting in 2016, he continued his basketball career in the professional ranks. Reed played for one season in Luxembourg, and was producing approximately 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game. However, he encountered a health problem that ended his season, and career, prematurely.