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Stormin' Mormons
Austin Murphy
February 20, 1995
Coach Roger Reid and sons Randy and Robbie have made BYU basketball a feisty family affair
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February 20, 1995

Stormin' Mormons

Coach Roger Reid and sons Randy and Robbie have made BYU basketball a feisty family affair

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"Randy's always been the politician," says Diane Reid, the boys' mother. "Robbie's always been a fighter."

In ninth grade he was ejected from a game against Springville High when he slugged a boy who had flagrantly fouled him on a layup. After serving a one-game suspension, he suited up for a game against Dixie High, but he got into another ruckus that night when some fans yelled, "Hey, Reid, your father's a cripple." It was a particularly low blow because Roger limps badly from dual hip replacement surgery. Robbie flipped off the entire gym, challenging anyone and everyone to fight. He was lucky to only get a technical; one more suspension and he would have had to sit out the season.

Furious, Roger lectured his intemperate son. If you're a Reid and you want to play basketball in this state, you'd better have a thick skin, he said. Robbie listened for a minute, then got right up in his father's face. "I don't care if I can't play anymore," he shouted, "no one's going to talk that way about my father."

Roger's eyes teared up, and he walked away.

Randy played the point as a freshman, selflessly sacrificing his offense to get the ball to his teammates. Now Robbie runs the offense and runs it well. Unlike Randy, however, if he sees a shot he thinks he can make, it's bombs away.

He made that clear last year, in his first game against the despised Utes. BYU's rivalry with Utah transcends sports. It has overtones of private versus public and conservative versus liberal. No group was more delighted by Robbie's decision to play for his father than the Utah fans, who had derived much pleasure from baiting the Reids when only two of them came calling, bringing signs to the game that Said, HEY DAD, CAN I PLAY TOO?

With 15 seconds left in Robbie's first game against Utah, the Cougars trailed 62-61 but had the ball. Roger drew up a play. Says Randy, "Robbie was supposed to look for Larson on the low post or me coming off a pick." He chose none of the above. With 15,713 hostiles looking on in amazement, Robbie worked the clock down to :05, pulled up and nailed a three.

Wins over Utah are ambrosia to Roger, who is fond of saying, "Sometimes, a man can't get honor in his own country." What he means, but is way too diplomatic to ever say, is, Look, I've averaged 23 wins a year for the last five seasons. Until last spring, when we were royally jobbed by the selection committee, we'd been to four straight NCAA tournaments. And despite all this, that guy up the road, Utah coach Rick Majerus—whom I've beaten in eight of our last 10 games—has a much higher national profile and is making three times what I make.

For one who has tasted so much success, Roger is surprisingly full of laments. He regrets the harshness with which he treats his sons, wonders if they wouldn't become better players elsewhere. Despite "living a dream" as coach of the Cougars—Roger grew up eight miles from campus—he second-guesses an early career decision. Although he made it as far as Triple A as a shortstop in the Atlanta Braves organization, he never did make it to the Show. He gave up the chase in 1971 to take a job coaching high school basketball and baseball in Payson, Utah, a decision that haunts him to this day. Says his brother Marvin, a school principal in Salt Lake City, "He'll always wonder, What if?"

After a four-mile run with Marvin five years ago, Roger complained of soreness in his legs. Within a year osteoarthritis had forced him to have the double hip replacement surgery. Soon he will need similar surgery on his ankles.

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