Reed fulfills his dream of coaching at Clemson

by - Senior Writer -
Reed fulfills his dream of coaching at Clemson

CLEMSON – Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
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sat on the couch in his home in Raleigh, N.C. last September and watched Clemson play at Florida St. on national television, and told his wife that he would love to coach at Clemson.

That feeling was reinforced when Reed – coaching at N.C. State at the time – traveled with the Wolfpack to Clemson’s Death Valley for a game last November, a game that turned into a 62-48 Clemson win and a shootout for the ages.

“Me and my wife were sitting on the couch when Clemson played Florida St.,” Clemson’s new secondary coach told TigerNet Friday morning. “I said, ‘Man, that is one of the places I would love to coach at.’ I may be a little bit different, but I’ve always envisioned myself coaching different places. My wife goes, ‘Yeah, it would be neat to coach there.’ And my wife loves the color orange.”

Reed said he admired the tradition and pageantry of Clemson football from afar.

“Seeing Clemson over the last six years and the tradition and the pageantry and running down the hill, I knew I would love to do that,” he said. “I thought that I would love to do that in my lifetime – kind of like those things you say you would love to do before you die. I wanted to see what it was like to run down the hill and coach at Clemson.”

He was then quick to point out that he didn’t run down the hill this past Saturday.

“No. Not yet. I am saving that for August 31st,” he said.

Reed said that it wasn’t until he arrived on campus that he understood Clemson’s recruiting success.

“Recruiting against Clemson for so long, I always wondered why kids went to Clemson,” he said. “What is it about Clemson? And then you get here, and you see why.”

Former Clemson secondary coach Charlie HarbisonCharlie Harbison
Defensive Backs
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resigned and headed to Auburn last December, and Reed said that began the process of him fulfilling his dream of coaching at Clemson something that he used to joke about with two former Clemson coaches.

“They say God has a blueprint for everything, and sometimes as men we try to manipulate that blueprint,” he said. “But you just have to take care of what you can take care of and leave everything else in His hands. It was great timing – Coach [Charlie] Harbison is a guy that I looked up to, and I used to make jokes with him and Coach [Kevin] Steele, because Coach Steele coached me in my rookie year with the [Carolina] Panthers. I would tell Coach Cheese, ‘You need to leave so I can come down there and coach at Clemson.

“When we first got the information that we would not be retained at N.C. State, he was the first guy I got on the phone with. Him and Melvin Smith, who is now at Auburn also. They are guys I looked up to, and I needed some feedback. I had never been in a situation and on a staff where I had been let go. Not to mention that I had a wife and two kids lying next to me, and my wife is looking at me like, ‘Okay, what are we gonna do?’ And I knew I had to have answers for her, shuffle my feet, and go and get another job. It was great timing.”

He was asked if the transition would be easier because he is staying in the ACC, and he said not necessarily.

“I don’t know if it’s easier, because the expectations are a lot greater. Coming off a season like Clemson had last year, people are expecting this team to go further,” Reed said. “My thing is ‘hey, I don’t want to be that guy at the end of the stick.’ I want to be that guy that has people saying, ‘Their defense is playing lights out.’ The expectation level has risen, and I am a competitor at heart. People like to say their name is on something – well my name is on this.”

Reed said he knew that he was coming into a situation with Clemson’s secondary that was less than ideal.

“As people say, I have been thrown in the grease. Fortunately, I played that position and I know what it’s like to be thrown in the grease,” he said. “I’ve been out there when it’s 4th-and-6th and you have to make a stop. When the ball is on the ten-yard line, and you are playing man-to-man coverage, what are you going to do? You can’t get scared and run under the bench. You have to face it. It is something I relish, and I’ve handled before, and I looked forward to it.”

He said that working with fewer numbers than he would have liked this spring is something he had to adjust to.

“It is a thing that happens and you have to roll with it. My dad was a Marine and he said you have to adapt and improvise,” Reed said. “You like to have all the bullets in your gun, but we didn’t, so you adapt. I am looking forward to it. Sometimes competition brings out the best in all of us. That is what we need back there. I think we have some guys that are comfortable in their situation and they need to be shook up a little bit. I think that’s what happened at N.C. State – people got comfortable and the A.D. wanted to shake things up and she shook things up.”

He said that head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s message to him was simple – fix it.

“There were some things happening that coach wanted to fix,” he said. “We have got some great young men, and we just need to buff up that diamond and shine it a little bit. There is a great skill set in those young men. You have some skill set back there, and you have to make sure they play together and play toward a common goal.”

I asked him if he felt more comfortable with his situation at safety than he does the situation with the corners, and he said no.

“I don’t feel comfortable with anybody. That is how I am,” Reed said. “I reach for the stars and I am going to reach for greatness, because at the end of the day if I don’t reach for greatness I am going to be average and I don’t want to be average. I set lofty goals for myself and for my players and I expect to get it. I don’t want to ever be satisfied, because when you do, that is when that guy behind you catches you.”

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