Esks Reed relishes home time

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:57 PM ET

Wednesday was a wonderful day for Kavis Reed.

"This is the first time I've ever been home when the kids got out of school for the summer," said the rookie head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.

"It's hard to explain to people how strange it is for me going through what I'm going through here this year.

"It's so strange to cut my own lawn. I've never been home to cut my own grass before.

"It's so unbelievable to go home, to actually go home, the house we lived in when I was a player when we first got married, where our kids have lived their entire lives and be with my wife and daughter and son after practice."

Reed is a study as he approaches his first regular season game as a head coach Sunday in Saskatchewan.

The 19th head coach in Eskimos history was an Eskimo from 1995 to 2000 when a neck injury ended his career.

He was 27 and newly married.

He has spent the last decade as an offensive coach, defensive coach and special teams coach with five different teams in the CFL and kept his family here year-round while he worked toward this day.

For nine straight seasons Reed developed himself as an assistant coach around the CFL, leaving Darlene and the kids in Edmonton from training camp until the final playoff game had been played, the family generally joining him for a month in the summer and his wife making a few trips in the fall.

Whether he was returning from Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Saskatchewan or Winnipeg, Reed would spend the deep-freeze months of winter in Edmonton with the family.

"I love the city. This is home for her and it's home for me. I'm even enjoying just knowing my way around town," he said.

To wake up every morning in Edmonton and take his kids to school, drive to Commonwealth Stadium and go home to his family has been a revelation.

"I'm far more creative now. It's brought a relaxation to my life in coaching that I haven't had before. I'm not coming back from practice worrying about my family back home in Edmonton. I'm going home to them. I can't believe how much more relaxed that has made me."

Normally a new head coach gets more wound up and often turns into a completely different person. With Reed it almost seems to be working the other way. But Reed knows time is running out on being an undefeated head coach.

"Right now it's good because we haven't lost a single regular season game. Nobody has thrown tomatoes and turned my white truck red yet."

While being home coaching the Eskimos so far is everything he hoped it would be, the thing that made Reed think longest and hardest about it were the same kids he's so happy to be home with now.

"I'm still concerned about it, especially with my daughter. I sat down with her and asked her 'Once it gets going, are you going to be OK when you read in the newspaper that your daddy sucks? Are you going to be OK when one of your schoolmates says his or her dad says your dad couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag?'

"Tarik is at the age where he just loves going out and running around, but Tyra is becoming an avid fan. I think she'll know everything about everybody on the team by the end of the week.

"She's really into it. She goes to esks.com every night to learn about all the players."

But even tough they're out of school, and despite the fact Sunday's first game as a head coach is a milestone moment, Reed is headed to Regina alone.

His mom is staying home in South Carolina and his wife and kids are staying home in Edmonton.

The only relatives Kavis Reed is going to have in Mosaic Stadium in Regina for his milestone moment of his first regular season game as head coach Eskimos are going to be cheering for Saskatchewan.

"In-laws," explained the rookie head coach with a line-up packed with rookie players.

"Darlene is from Macklin, Sask.," he explained.

"My sister and brother in law are diehard Saskatchewan fans. I imagine they'll be in the stands cheering hard for the Riders."

"I try to keep my family away from this thing," he said.

"Really, to me, I just want to win this game. I want the fewest number of distractions possible."

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terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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