Gentle Giant Soars With Eagles

Sal Polcino, Staff Reporter

Long before Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach, Andy Reid, led his NFL team to the Super Bowl, he helped the GCC Vaqueros win the 1977 Western Conference Championship.

Reid, 54, who was born in Los Angeles and attended John Marshall High School, began his college football career playing on the offensive line of the Vaqueros in 1976 and 1977 where he also put the ball through the uprights as a field goal and extra point kicker.

Former Vaqueros’ coach, Jim Sartoris, called Reid a “gentle giant”, a big man who got along with everyone. “Andy was one of the leaders of the team,” said Sartoris, “He was always there running the strides and never missed a practice.”

In addition to playing on the offensive line, Reid was the extra point kicker which is rare for a big man. Sartoris said, “Andy kicked with the old-fashioned square toe,” not the soccer style that modern kickers use. “He was the best guy we had,” added Sartoris.

After playing at GCC, Reid transferred to Brigham Young University where he trained as a player and a coach, eventually becoming a graduate coach in 1982. He then honed his craft at San Francisco State University, Northern Arizona, Texas-El Paso and Missouri before getting his big break when Green Bay Packers’ coach, Mike Holmgren, hired him to coach the offensive line in 1992. By 1997, Reid was promoted to quarterback coach where he helped take the team to back-to-back Super Bowls.

In 1999, Reid got his first NFL head coach position with the Eagles where he took the team to five conference championship games culminating in a Super Bowl appearance in 2004, where the Eagles fell to the Patriots. His winning percentage of .609 is the 11th highest in NFL history.

After an 8 – 8 season last year and an inauspicious start this year ( the Eagles are now at 3 – 4 after their loss to the Atlanta Falcons Sunday) there has been much talk of Reid’s job being put on the chopping block. Philadelphia fans are disappointed and there is even a number of “Fire Andy Reid” pages on Facebook, the largest with 7,380 members.

There are nine more games for Reid to spur the team on to a winning season. The Eagles’ head office has not commented on Reid’s future and he himself may be the deciding factor since he has also has held the position of executive vice president of football operations for the Eagles since 2001.

Reid’s son Garrett also played on the Vaqueros front line for part of the 2003 season. Garrett, 29, died of an accidental heroin overdose in August. He was found in his dorm at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Garrett and his younger brother, Britt Reid, had struggled with drug addiction for years and both had spent time in jail.

This may be the reason that Reid was one of the few head coaches in the NFL to consider giving quarterback, Michael Vick, a second chance after his release from prison. Vick served 19 months at Leavenworth for financing a dogfighting conspiracy.

Reid has visited GCC on a number of occasions and still meets with his old teammates including the current GCC Women’s Golf Coach, Greg Osbourne, who played defensive back on that championship team.

Reid remains loyal to his school. Sartoris said, “He never forgot his roots.” The scoreboard hovering over Sartoris field was funded by Reid and his family who donated $75,000 to build the scoreboard in 2004.

Reid was inducted into the GCC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.