Mike Reans is the new basketball coach at Lee Academy.
Reans will be coaching the high school boys and girls and the junior high boys. He succeeds Michael Peckham, who spent the past four years at Lee Academy.
Reans was boys basketball coach at Kirk Academy in Grenada this past season. He spent the previous seven seasons as the boys coach at Riverfield Academy in Rayville, La. He spent some of that time coaching the girls varsity basketball team. He won state championships at New Albany High School, Marvell Academy and Delta Academy. He also won a state championship coaching football at Morgan Academy in Selma, Ala.
Reans, a Sledge native, was in the final Sledge High School graduating class in 1970. He went to Northwest Mississippi Community College for two years, earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Millsaps College in Jackson in 1975 and then a master’s in administration from Ole Miss in 1995.
He was the headmaster at Marvell Academy for 12 years and Winston Academy. He was the headmaster at Kirk Academy for three years, but not when he was the basketball coach.
Reans knew headmaster Rone Walker and her husband Bill many years before coming to Lee. That played a role in his decision to take the position.
“First of all, I was very familiar with the administration here,” Reans said. “That was one thing. I really wanted to work with them. Ms. Walker’s husband used to be one of my best players at Delta Academy.”
Bill Walker was a post player.
“My wife even worked with the Walker’s mom and dad,” Reans said. “I’m from Sledge, Miss. This is my neck of the woods anyway. I was born in Clarksdale.”
Reans said Lee was a good school with a strong work environment.
“I knew they had some real eager guys that wanted to play basketball and that was another reason I came,” Reans said.
Reans’ old school Kirk Academy is in the same division as Lee.
“They’ll be some rivalry there,” Reans said. “I actually still live in Grenada.”
However, that will not impact Reans’ game planning.
“Each game is different,” Reans said. “Each team is different. Things change over the years and even the course of the season. Consistently scouting and keeping up with your opponent is probably your best bet rather than trying to figure out stuff that’s happened a long time ago.”
Student of the game
Reans was a point guard at Sledge High School, but it was a small school and most athletes played all sports.
“Actually, my best sports that I played were football and baseball, but I did love basketball and I really loved the guys that were coaching me,” Reans said.
Things changed when Reans was coaching.
“When I was coaching baseball at New Albany High School, a man named Harvey Childers asked me to be his assistant. Coach Childers is a famous legendary coach,” Reans said. “At the time, I was just doing it to help, to get another supplement, but when I got with him, I learned a whole bunch of stuff about basketball, about how to coach period, even the other sports, the organization, how to do practices. A million things I learned from Coach Childers that helped me in all sports, but he got me to loving coaching basketball.”
Reans said Childers coached at Northeast Mississippi Community College, got to the national tournament three times and almost won it one year.
One step at a time
As a new coach at Lee, Reans is taking things one step at a time.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get to know them,” Reans said. “They learn the terminology that I use and what my philosophy is. I’m trying to figure out what they can be best at and what they can do best. I’m also trying to continue to keep them hustling like they’ve been hustling. Right now, it’s just to get acquainted, who can do what and figure out who’s going to play what right now.”
Reans said summer practices are used to answer many of those questions.
“You’re not going to get it all done,” Reans said. “It may take a year or two, but if you don’t have the summer, you’re really behind.
“I don’t know there’s ever a time you completely say you know your team, but we’re going to try to do the best we can during the month of June to get to know them better and try to mix the strengths.”
Teams missed a lot of summer practices with the COVID pandemic in 2020, but that has not been a problem since Reans took over at Lee in 2021.
Reans said his teams will go to a camp at Madison Ridgeland Academy where they play all day for three days.
“It gives you a lot of experience that it would take if you didn’t go a month into your season or more that you would not know without going,” Reans said. “Plus, you get some camaraderie built with your team. You get to know other teams, see other teams down there. That kind of gives you a starting point on maybe what they do. A lot of stuff is good about it.”
Keys to basketball and life
Reans said three keys, in no particular order, to being a good coach are caring about the players, believing in what the team is doing and caring about the team ahead of the individual.
“I’m having a great time with the practices that we had,” Reans said. “We’ve had pretty good attendance. Just some really good kids is what I’ve noticed so far.”
Reans said he means good kids in the way athletes conduct themselves.
“They’re good character kids is what I’ve seen right now,” Reans said.
Reans said having athletes with character can lead to success on the basketball court.