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Rudel: Nevins concludes it’s time

Central High School is expected to name Paul Frederick as its new boys basketball coach Monday night.

Which means after 27 seasons and 452 victories — most in Blair County boys scholastic basketball history — the Reggie Nevins era is over.

Nevins’ last three months as Central’s coach were messy. He was disciplined by his school’s administration for critical remarks about the District 6 committee after the Scarlet Dragons’ playoff loss and suspended from Central activities, including his position as assistant baseball coach.

The day before it was scheduled to take place, a May 21 public hearing on his status as basketball coach was canceled, and he was only reinstated in time to help coach the baseball team in its last game of the season, a playoff loss to Forest Hills.

Nevins was invited to reapply for the basketball job, which he chose not to do.

“In all reality, I was only planning to coach one more year,” he said the other day. “My wife (Darlene, who also works at Central) was going to retire in another year, but she chose to retire this year because of a lot of this stuff. That had a lot to do with it. I just think it (stepping aside now) is the right decision.”

Nevins, 65, concluded going through an interview with an administration and some board members that didn’t want him “would have been awkward.”

He’s also at peace with Frederick, his top assistant, being the board’s recommendation.

“He’s been a fantastic assistant coach and a fantastic guy,” Nevins said. “He’s coached all the major sports here at Central and put in his time. His last number of years, I would almost consider us co-coaches.”

Frederick, a 2004 graduate of Central who teaches in the district, did not want to apply until he was certain Nevins’ decision was final.

“I really want to thank Coach Nevins,” Frederick, 33, said. “I learned a great deal from him both as a player and as an assistant coach. He was great at motivating his players, and he always knew what in-game adjustments to make. The basketball knowledge I gained from being around him is invaluable.”

Nevins isn’t sure he wants (or should have to) reapply for the assistant baseball job after spending 38 years on the staff of Central’s highly successful program. But that may be moot since along with Frederick, the board is recommending Garrett Miller for the vacancy.

“The (baseball) coaches stopped by and seem like they would like to have me involved,” Nevins said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Though he wishes his coaching tenure “would have ended more smoothly,” Nevins was overwhelmed by the support during a controversy that engulfed the Cove.

“If one good thing came out of this, it’s all the former players and community and other coaches and players from other teams that reached out to me,” he said. “It’s just been amazing. Our family is so appreciative of all the people who supported us.”

He thanked his players and assistants — mentioning longstanding aides Frederick, Stan Risser and Bill Forshey — and said he “very seldom, if ever” was forced to deal with a disgruntled parent.

“They didn’t make it hard on me,” he said. “Over all those years, I was lucky. With very few exceptions, we didn’t have problems. We had good people who supported our program. I was blessed with excellent assistants. I asked the players for all they’ve got, and we were so fortunate … all the players sold out and gave total effort. I was blessed with special kids.”

Which is why as time puts some distance over these unnecessarily turbulent last three months, “even though the way things transpired,” Nevins said, “I’ll still be Dragon supporter.”

Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or nrudel@altoonamirror.com.

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