ROARING SPRING - Had things been a little bit different, Reggie Nevins might never have stepped down as the boys basketball coach at Central High School.
"I got out of coaching because my daughter [Alicia] was playing at the senior high level," Nevins said. "At the time, we were in the Laurel Highlands league, and boys and girls played the same night. It was a situation that I wasn't going to get to see her play.
"It felt like the perfect time to get out. But then, a couple of years later, we got right back into the Mountain League."
And, nine years later, Nevins is coming back, too.
Nevins was hired by an 8-1 vote at Monday night's Spring Cove School Board meeting to return as the Scarlet Dragons' coach, where he'll add to his Blair County boys basketball record win total every time his team comes out on top.
Nevins, 58, posted a 351-185 record in his first tenure, capturing a pair of District 6 championships when the school was in Class AAA; the Dragons now compete in Class AA.
Spring Cove athletic committee chairperson Amy Acker-Knisely said the school interviewed seven applicants to fill the position that came open when Bill Forshey, Nevins' longtime assistant who took took over at the start of the 2003-04 season, stepped down for health reasons.
"He has 35 years of experience. Actually, when I was a student in the mid-80s, he was the coach, and we had a very good team back then, and I've been exposed to him pretty much my whole life, living in the Cove," Acker-Knisely said. "People are very aware of his enthusiasm for the game. The one thing I will say that worked in his favor are people speak very highly of his teaching. The kids are very respectful, and they want to play for him.
"When I have a kid come to me and tells me they want to play for him, when you hear that kind of enthusiasm these days, it goes a long way. I think he's best for the program now, [although] we had some great candidates."
Nevins' players will be well-accustomed to him: He began coaching the Scarlet Dragon junior high team after only a year away from the bench.
"I really enjoyed myself coaching junior high, but you miss the playoffs and the postseason," Nevins said. "The group of kids we have coming back, although mostly an underclassman group of kids, they're a really fun group, a really neat group of kids. I enjoyed coaching them in junior high. They have great personalities. I probably would not have gotten back into it if not for those guys."
The Dragons went 13-10 last year, losing in the opening round of districts with a starting lineup that included four seniors. The roster, however, also included 13 sophomores.
"It'll be a challenge. There's not a lot of size there, but there's a lot of skill and athleticism. I'm looking forward to that," Nevins said.
John Biddle cast the only dissenting vote.
"I just preferred the other candidate," Biddle said.
Acker-Knisely declined to name any of the other applicants or to say whether there were other in-house candidates. She did say that the school typically lets the head coaches choose their assistants, and Nevins said he's already been talking to some potential members for his staff, including several former players.
While Nevins said he is closing in on the completion of his teaching career, he isn't putting any expiration date on his second term as varsity basketball coach.
"I'm interested in coaching for a while. I still coach baseball, as well, at the high school," Nevins said. "If things go as well as they did before and if I'm having fun and the kids are enjoying things and having success and enjoying me coaching, I'm planning on doing it for a while."
Nevins is a math teacher in the Spring Cove Middle School. He received a $4,848.35 salary with his hiring as coach.