Remembering Coach Reid | American River College coach dies

Coach Reid battled cancer and COVID while coaching, and Sacramento’s athletics community is in mourning.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An American River College (ARC) track and field coach named Michael Reid died Saturday morning, July 16.

He served as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s track and field team at ARC and in 2019 started as the head coach of the track and field team at Hiram W. Johnson High School.

Coach Reid was diagnosed with stage four throat and lung cancer in January 2007 and later in 2022 contracted the coronavirus. He battled these illnesses while coaching, and the Sacramento athletics community mourns the loss of this passionate and strong man.

“It showed how passionate he was, said Coach Reid student-athlete Myles Ellis. “He didn’t show up just to show up because it’s his job or because he had to, he showed up because he loved his job. He loved coaching and he loved his athletes. He loved me, my brother, my friends and he loved his staff.”

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Coach Reid’s love for the track started young. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1976 where he ran track and played football.

He attended Sacramento City College and Consumnes River College, and he ran for their track team. However, he was injured and out for the rest of the season.

In 1981, he enlisted in the United States Army and became a private first class. However, later in 1998, Coach Reid returned home and was recruited to help high schools with athletic programs that lacked specialized coaches.

Coach Reid became a coach for his own non-profit organization in 2003 called Athletes Under Construction, Inc. His goal was to provide athletic guidance, conditioning, and training to middle, high school, and college student-athletes.

Shortly after, from 2005 to 2006, he was hired as an athletics coach for CK McClatchy High School and John F. Kennedy High School. Foothill High School, Del Campo High School, and Jesuit High School also had Coach Reid on staff, coaching their track teams.

Coach Reid then joined the CRA and coached from the fall of 2005 until the very end of his time.

In 2012, he completed his Associate’s degree at ARC in Kinesiology, while being a coach, mentor, husband to his wife Kimberely and father to his children.

Despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Coach Reid never gave up on his student-athletes and he never gave up on himself.

However, many of his student-athletes mentioned that he was so selfless that he would put everyone and their health before his own.

“You could tell he was battling his own health issues, but he would make sure he was there for all of us,” said Richard Finical, a former student-athlete. “He always cared about others more than himself.”

Radiation treatments unfortunately burned Coach Reid’s esophagus, preventing him from eating and talking. His student-athletes mentioned that he had to eat through a feeding tube and during times when he couldn’t speak he would bring a whistle, a whiteboard, even a coach out of his car and text the warm-ups and workouts to one of the athletes.

“He never complained,” Finical said. “Sometimes it was hard to figure it out, and I could tell it would be frustrating for him, but he got around that and survived his battle with cancer. He was fully committed to his craft and strong as a warrior.”

Plus, his student-athletes remembered all the times Coach Reid brought his team together, from team dinners and banter to dancing and laughing.

“His authenticity and his ability to bring us together made him special to me, said Robert Ellis, a former student-athlete. “I have younger friends, friends my own age and older friends that I’ve all met here. He brought everyone together, all the time.”

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On Monday, July 18, a group of current and former student-athletes gathered on the track at Rio Americano High School for “Run a Lap for Coach Reid” and on Friday, July 22, they held a vigil at the ARC to remember Coach Reid.

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Mike Johnson Jr. considered Coach Reid one of his brothers, they were close and had known each other for over 10 years. Johnson mentioned her daughter, who had Coach Reid as her first coach, will be competing in the Junior Olympics this week, and she’s dedicating her run to Coach Reid by writing his name on her shoes.

“Sacramento in general, our athletics community is going to be so different now that he’s gone,” said Callie Lawson-Freeman, a former student-athlete. “That’s what motivated a lot of us, just making him proud because he believes in us so much. I think you’ll see a lot of people keep running in his honor. I’m really excited to see those people , and I know he’s going to watch them too so it’s going to be really beautiful.”

There will be a public screening for Coach Reid this Wednesday, July 27 from 2-6 p.m. at the Thompson Rose Chapel in Sacramento. There will also be a public homecoming ceremony this Thursday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Progressive Church of God in Christ in Sacramento.

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There is a GoFundMe for Coach Reid’s medical and funeral expenses that you can donate to HERE.

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