Reynolds Ready for Silver Streak Basketball
By John Ring
It’s been a hectic few weeks for Mike Reynolds, who is the newest Silver Streak boys basketball coach.
He’s been looking for a house in Galesburg. He assembled a coaching staff. And he’s just completed the first of what he hopes is many Silver Streak basketball camps in the summer.
Reynolds comes from a highly successful Class A background at Bismarck-Henning (near Danville) Illinois. He had built a solid basketball foundation there; he had built a winner and it was his wife’s hometown. He had everything going for him, including a 118-39 record over a seven-year span. “I had a choice,” said Coach Reynolds. “I wasn’t applying for every position that came open. It was going to take something special for me to leave Bismarck.”
“Galesburg was that special for me. My wife and I made the decision to apply for the position and come here. I don’t have any direct connections to Galesburg but I know coaches who have told me that from a basketball perspective, Galesburg is a sleeping giant. They play in a great conference. It’s my job now to roll my sleeves up and work hard.”
Reynolds and his Silver Streaks have been getting acquainted in the last few weeks. And while most new coaches talk in general platitudes about working hard and playing defense, you get the impression after talking to the new Streaks coach that this standard line should be taken a little more seriously.
Question — what drives you crazy as a basketball coach? Answer: “I don’t like the lack of defense and I don’t like turnovers.”
Question — do you have short and long term goals? Answer: “If guys buy into defense and rebound hard, you will be in every game. Offense can come and go, we may play fast or into a halfcourt offense but defense and rebounding will be there every night for every game.”
Reynolds elaborated on that a bit more. “The number one thing for our guys to buy into are guarding their player on every possession and playing the right way. They need to get intense and it needs to start at an early age. You can’t just be offensive minded. You watch every good team play and they do two things, play defense and rebound. Our goals just aren’t wins and losses but how they conduct themselves off the court as well. I came from a very successful program and I want to duplicate those same things here.”
The Silver Streaks are coming off a disastrous season that comes on the heels of another disastrous season. Their record was 5-21 and they were bounced out of the Regionals unceremoniously in the first game by Rock Island Alleman by a 58-46 score. Let’s be very honest — aside from an upset or two, the Streaks haven’t been very respectable in a few years. And Reynolds is faced with what every new coach has to deal with — seniors in their final year under a first-year coach. “This is the seniors’ last shot. I was pretty honest with them. They haven’t won. They know they need to work harder and smarter. It’s not how long you work, it’s how hard you work.”
Reynolds then added, “Contrary to popular belief, there’s some talent there. There are going to be some surprises next season. You’ll see players emerge and play very well. The Galesburg basketball program is bigger than just one player or one coach.”
“We’re going to have a good mix. We have a lot of returning players and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with our young players. If the young guys keep working hard, keep working in the weight room and keep working on their fundamentals, we’re going to have a real good mix of players.”
One of the first things Reynolds did was put together a coaching staff he was comfortable with and he felt would be best for rebuilding the Galesburg basketball program. “I pried Al Dennison out of retirement. He’s a high energy guy and as the assistant varsity coach, it’s been working out real well.” Reynolds, an Orion High School graduate, then appointed Ryan Hart as the sophomore coach and Matt Pogue for the same position as the freshman coach. He pretty much cleaned house from the Jeff Houston regime.
For now, Mike Reynolds is on a search with his team. “I’m looking for a corps of guys,” said the Streaks coach. “I’m looking for five or six guys to lead the way. Being motivated makes it easy to work hard and hard to give up. Work ethic will permeate through the entire program, all the way down to kindergarten.”
Mike Reynolds is the 32nd coach in the history of the Silver Streak boys program. 33rd if you count Mike Kiss, who was first hired and then resigned a week later. It isn’t so much that the Streaks have become a soap opera, it’s that they have lost for years and the program has hit pretty much rock bottom.
Some have said the four class system would help Galesburg’s once proud basketball program rise again. It doesn’t matter in the Western Big 6. If Galesburg continues to be a member, enrollment isn’t a factor. You play Quincy, you’d better be ready. You play Rock Island, not Rantoul.
Galesburg basketball fans tend not to be negative; they are skeptical and worn down after the last seven years. They would like to see results. They would love to see some effort.
Mike Reynolds has his chance and hopes to make the most of it.
Top 5 Rivals
(There’s no doubt who the big rival is but Pekin used to be nearly as big—especially in boys basketball when their game was televised in 1965)
2. Rock Island
3. Peoria Richwoods
5. Rock Island Alleman
Top 5 Broadcasters
1. Bill Pearson
2. Jimmie Carr
3. Brad Bennewitz
4. Robb Strack
5. Jim Lee
Top 5 Dynamic Duos
(A 1-2 punch is always big in basketball and the ones listed below were among the best in Streak history)
1. Joey Range-Rod Thompson: Joey and Rod played just one year together but they powered the Streaks to a 2nd place finish at State in 1998.
2. Mike Campbell-Scott Kelley: The Twin Towers in Streak history, they played together for two years and guided Galesburg to their famous overtime Regional win over Richwoods and to the state tournament in 1976.
3. Ruben Triplett-Jim Reinebach: The perfect center/power forward combination. Triplett and Reinebach’s backgrounds were totally different yet they took Galesburg to a 2nd place finish at State in 1968 and the quarterfinals in 1969. Triplett still holds the single game record for rebounds (31) while Reinebach had a deadly baseline jumper.
4. Eric Johnson-Byron Thierry: Both took turns breaking Dale Kelley’s career scoring record before Joey Range smashed it. Both played on some very good teams in the early 1980s but they never broke the door down to a state appearance.
5. Bumpy Nixon-Lincoln Nixon: Around the time Richard Nixon lost a very close Presidential election, the Nixon brothers helped the Streaks to a 3rd place finish in 1959. Bumpy’s 18th birthday and ensuing ban by the IHSA probably cost Galesburg a state championship in 1960.