Coaching to Biblical Manhood

February 03, 2016

Assistant basketball coach shepherding the “flock”

By Bob Holmes

Danny Reese wants the young men entrusted to him to walk in biblical manhood. That’s a high calling for an assistant basketball coach. But Reese says he’s more than a coach – he’s a disciple maker for Jesus.

To Rams basketball fans, Reese is the guy with the clipboard on the Rams bench logging stats and leaning toward Head Coach Marshall Teague to offer advice. But to the players, he’s an available mentor, friend – and fellow classmate. At age 39, Reese is getting in his final credits for a bachelor’s degree in Bible.

“You’re really caring about them and loving them,” Reese said. “I’m concerned about how they’re living their life and seeing how they grow in their devotion to Christ.”

Devotion to Christ was not Reese’s priority when he was the age of those he is coaching and mentoring today. Reese grew up in the Columbia area playing basketball for Brookland-Cayce High School. But he said he made some “terrible choices” and was incarcerated for a time in the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Still, he finished high school on time, and would go on to play college basketball at Wabash Valley Junior College in Illinois and Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.      

It was at Northeastern State that he had a Christian teammate who “showered him with love.”

“He would always pray with me, he was pouring the Word of God into me every chance he got,” Reese recalls with a fondness in his voice. “God reminds me of all these people he would bring into my life.

“(But) all this time I was not an abiding relationship with Christ,” Reese continued. “I would call on Him whenever I had a need. But I was still wanting what I wanted in my life.”

After his years at Northeastern State, his life took another spiral downward as he went through a period of depression, drug dealing and what he called “street life” that landed him in the county jail.

”I always fell short. I had no purpose of living. My life was identified by the game of basketball.”

His sentence for the drug dealing was 12 years suspended with five years of probation – if he entered a Christian-oriented program called “U-Turn for Christ” hosted by Calvary Chapel in Lexington, South Carolina.

Reese made the U-Turn. The program taught him a disciplined, biblical life, and he grew in a relationship with Christ.

“I had enough of me,” Reese said.  

Reese found full-time employment and after a couple of years in the marketplace, he responded to what he describes as a “calling” to come to CIU as a student and basketball coach.

“My steps were ordered to be here.”

Reese plans to continue on as a Rams assistant coach after graduation this spring helping to establish what he calls “a championship culture for Christ” in the young basketball program.

“(God) has given me the opportunity to impact young men,” Reese explains. “Coaching is a part of mentoring. It’s like shepherding. Tending to your flock. It’s pointing them to the Word of God with Christ as our model.”