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End of an era

April 30, 2023 - 00:00
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After 4 state titles together at KHS, Reese and Green take over at Dover

  • End of an era
    KHS BASKETBALL coaches Danny Green (left) and Jared Reese watch their 2021 team celebrate after winning the Class 4A state championship. The two were part of a staff that coached four state title teams in a seven-year span. Reese and Green are now headed

The most successful era in Kingfisher High School boys basketball officially came to a close last week.

The Dover Board of Education voted unanimously at a special meeting on Wednesday night to hire Jared Reese as the school district’s new elementary principal and head high school boys basketball coach.

In the same meeting, the board also hired Danny Green to teach elementary P.E. and coach the third-sixth grade basketball teams.

Reese will succeed Aaron Norton, who stepped down as basketball coach early in the week.

He’ll succeed Trilla Ramer as elementary principal as Ramer took on a new role that was also approved at the meeting (see related story).

The hire at Dover ends Reese’s 10-year run as Kingfisher High School’s boys basketball coach.

During his tenure, the program was 248-28 (.900).

Green joined the staff, which has also included Chris Combs, prior to the 2016-17 season.

In those seven years, KHS was 187-12 (.939), advanced to state each year, won four state championships, was a state runner-up one time and a semifinalist the other (the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID-19).

“The last 10 years have been spectacular coaching in the Kingfisher district,” Reese said.

“We’ve had a great coaching staff, great parents and most importantly, great kids.”

Prior to Reese’s arrival, KHS had qualified for state eight times and had three total state tournament wins.

The Jackets were 15-2 at state during his tenure.

The last seven seasons have included a 47-game winning streak, an 80-game home winning streak, two academic state championships and numerous student- athletes who signed to play at the collegiate level.

“It has been my privilege to coach some great players and teams,” Reese said. “It just couldn’t have gone better.”

During the last few years, Reese has been working toward his master’s degree with the goal of getting into administration.

Earlier this school year, after some administrative shuffling was done at Kingfisher, he was made the dean of students at KHS. When principals were rehired for the 2023-24 school year, Reese was hired as the dean of students for both KHS and the junior high.

However, being in an administrative role and coaching isn’t generally practiced at KPS.

“The opportunity I have been given at Dover gives me the ability to pursue administration and continue to coach,” Reese said.

That opportunity was presented by Jay Wood, the first-year superintendent at Dover who worked with Reese for several years at Kingfisher.

Wood, who coached the KHS girls basketball team for four seasons before moving into the role of athletic director and then KHS principal for a year, saw firsthand what Kingfisher accomplished in the boys’ program.

“When I left Kingfisher, I thought those coaches were the best group of coaches at any level, high school all the way up to college in Oklahoma,” Wood said. “What they have accomplished there is amazing. Not only are they great coaches, but great men, positive role models for students, the school and community.”

And now that he’s at Dover, Wood’s desire was to bring some of that north of the Cimarron River.

“I want to fill our buildings with these types of people,” he said. “What they will bring to our students, our athletes and our school system is impeccable. I can’t think of two better guys to represent our school and have such a positive influence on our students.”

Green is currently the P.E. teacher at Gilmour Elementary. He’s also been the high school softball coach the last seven seasons.

His wife, Melanie, continues to teach kindergarten at Gilmour. Their two youngest children - Trey and Allison - both graduated from KHS.

“Kingfisher has been an amazing place to work and call home for the last seven years. Our family has enjoyed every moment and will always look at Kingfisher with fond memories,” he said. “The friendships we have made, educators I have worked with and players I have coached over that time have been incredible.”

Green said he felt Kingfi sher was a special place the first time he stepped on campus.

“I certainly wasn’t wrong,” he said. “I will always be grateful for the opportunities that I have had while being here at Kingfisher.”

However, the timing of the change was ideal, he said.

“Dover is an opportunity for change at the right time. It was obviously a difficult decision, but the chance to go somewhere new and make a difference was something that intrigued me from the start,” he said.

As it stands, Combs is the lone remaining member of the boys basketball staff.

Kingfisher Superintendent David Glover said the void left by the departure of Reese and Green will be large.

“Not only is Dover gaining two great basketball coaches, they are also gaining two outstanding men,” Glover said.

“It goes without saying how much we are going to miss them at Kingfisher Public Schools.”

Reese informed his basketball team of his decision early Wednesday morning.

That was a difficult task, he said. Reese said the accomplishments on the court speak for themselves, but that’s not all that goes into building the program.

“Most importantly I am proud of the unselfish attitude and culture this program personifies and will lead to many successful men later in life,” Reese said. “I’m also proud of the lifelong friendships our coaching staff has made with players and families in this community.”

Wood hopes for the same kind of relationships in Dover.

“I can’t think of two better guys to represent our school and have such a positive influence on our students,” he said.

The recent personnel moves by the district were part of a larger overhaul in Dover.

The high school is only a handful of years old after a fire burned down the former structure.

The elementary school just completed its second week of use by students and the high school gym is in the midst of a complete remodel.

That’s on top of a softball complex overhaul that was completed just last year as well as improvements to the baseball field.

“Great things are happening in Dover and I am excited to see what these guys are going to bring to the table,” Wood said.

Reese said he wanted to be a part of it.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and I hope I can build on a culture of helping mold successful and respectful students in the Dover district,” he said.

“I truly feel they have something special starting to build in that district and I hope I can help continue that growth.”

As for Kingfisher, Glover is confident he’ll find the right replacement for a program that has reached at least the area tournament every year but one in the last 22 seasons.

Glover met Wednesday afternoon with the young men who will be returning to the program next year.

“I told them I had been around the game a long time and got to know a lot of people,” Glover said. “It certainly will be difficult, but I still believe in the Kingfisher work ethic and pride in the program.

“I started work Wednesday on finding a coach who will fit those qualities and keep us on track.”