They are a docile bunch, as college basketball crowds go, sitting quietly in the red V-neck sweaters and cardigans that the booster club strongly suggests they wear. But it doesn't mean Fresno State fans don't have feelings, don't get upset. In fact, as their Bulldogs were being outplayed by a team of inferior athletes back in January, the fans were frustrated and showing it. Brigham Young, their opponent that night, was winning the only way the Cougars can: scoring off set plays, helping each other on defense, keeping their poise even as the taunts from the bleachers took on a nasty edge.
"Hey, Reid, how many mothers you got?" shouted one slovenly, heavyset man three rows up as the Cougars' 6'1" sophomore point guard, Robbie Reid, broke the Bulldog press in the game's final minute. The outcome was decided—the Cougars won 69-61—but time remained for guys like this slob to get their licks in at the BYU guard, who is a Mormon. Had Reid been offended by the tired polygamy joke? "Actually," said Reid after the game, "I was kind of disappointed by the lack of creativity tonight."
"That was tame, compared to what we get at Utah," chimed in Robbie's brother Randy, the team's 6'2" junior shooting guard.
These two, who look as if they should be singing for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, would catch major flak even if they were the only members of their family on the Cougar roster. Which they are not. Their father, Roger, is in his sixth season as the team's coach, which makes for a robust stew of sibling rivalry and filial rebellion. It's also an NCAA rarity. While plenty of Division I coaches, from Press Maravich to Bob Knight, have had a son play for them, it is exceedingly uncommon for a coach to start two sons.
The gist of the insult they most frequently hear is, Hey, Goldilocks, I'd be starting too if my old man ran the program. The truth is, if they weren't playing for their father, the Reid boys would be playing for some better-known coach. Randy, whose 2,191 points in four seasons at Spanish Fork High made him Utah's alltime leading prep scorer, was recruited by North Carolina and UCLA. Robbie was wooed by Arizona and Florida, among others, after averaging 29.0 points per game as a senior at Spanish Fork. He finished his high school career as the fourth-leading scorer in the state.
This season, with an all-Reid backcourt, the Cougars were 20-5 as of Sunday, with wins over Louisville, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and archrival Utah, where they are known as Daddy's Boys. Bad news for Cougarhaters: Daddy's Boys can play.
Of course, you can't blame opponents for being irked by the Reids. There is something inherently annoying about these virtuous, square-jawed sibs with the Bart Connor 'dos and Donny Osmond smiles. So it might please Cougar foes to know that the Reids have as much in common with the Bundys as they do with the Bradys; that the two brothers, who are often at war with their father, are so competitive they can't even scrimmage against one another without coming to blows.
Whereas 24-year-old Randy is a finesse player and pure shooter, Robbie, 20, is a hothead with a maverick spirit that tends to grate on the old man. At the shootaround before the Fresno State game, for instance, Robbie, the team's self-appointed shop steward, questioned the necessity of the endless walk-throughs to which Roger was subjecting them. Roger responded by humiliating his son in front of the team, prompting Randy to leap to the defense of his brother, which led the exasperated coach to turn to his assistants, arms raised, as if to say, Look what I'm burdened with.
No one was surprised to see Randy defend his little brother, with whom he has always gotten along famously, save for rare instances, like when they were small boys and Randy would hold Robbie's head under water until just before Robbie blacked out, or instruct his eager-to-please sibling to make a diving catch, then throw a football into a rosebush. But as the boys reached adolescence these conflicts petered out for the most part—except when the two brothers played against each other. At one practice last season they got into a nasty fistfight that is now part of team lore.
"We're best friends, there's nothing we wouldn't do for one another," says Randy. "We just can't play against each other. We're too competitive."