The Rocket staff cannot confirm the reason coach Reynolds was placed on leave after multiple requests for information were returned with no comment by the Rock Athletics staff. Rather, we believe that due to the change of leadership that has already occurred, now is the time to move to a new permanent head coach.
Slippery Rock University head men’s basketball coach Kevin Reynolds was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 2 for reasons yet to be disclosed by the university. Ian Grady, an assistant coach for the men’s team since 2009, has been appointed as acting head coach during this time. Despite multiple attempts to gain information, university administration, assistant coaches and players on the team have refused to comment.
The Rocket Staff feels strongly that Reynolds should not be relieved of his suspension and should be terminated as head coach.
Since being appointed to the position in May of 2008, Reynolds has enjoyed a great deal of success on the hardwood. He is the second-winningest coach in program history (188-109) and was named PSAC West Coach of the Year for 2008-09. He led the 2012-13 Rock squad to a record-tying season of 23 wins and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
However, Reynolds’ praise should stop there. What might appear as a decade of resounding success for a previously floundering basketball program has been mired by controversy and stained by internal corruption.
Prior to him being put on administrative leave, reports surfaced of players boycotting practice in opposition to Reynolds. Sources close to the team said that Reynolds verbally abused the team on a regular basis, lashing out and attacking the players individually.
There is a stark difference between motivation and abuse, and Reynolds’ long history of falling on the wrong side of that distinction is damning. In 2013, when Slippery Rock basketball player Jack Hill, Jr. died during practice after entering cardiac arrest, Reynolds’ coaching methods should have been reevaluated.
Reynolds’ mindset not only harms his players on the hardwood, but also in the classroom. Only 43 players have earned a bachelor’s degree during his 10-year coaching tenure. His recruiting methods see consistently high roster turnover, as the team did this season when only one player returned from last year’s team.
Reynolds not only shows no regard for classroom performance, but appears to view his athletes as assets that can be added or dropped at his will. The authoritarian method of recycling players in pursuit of athletic success violates the purpose of being a student-athlete.
It is for these reasons that we believe it is time for Slippery Rock men’s basketball to move on from the Kevin Reynolds era. The players and university community deserve a better representative of the values in place at SRU.
The Rocket is in support of leadership that values player safety and morale while also encouraging academic success. We believe this goal is attainable and that these attributes are necessary for the next men’s basketball coach at Slippery Rock.