Andy Reid inducted into his high school hall of fame in Los Angeles

Andy Reid gets a hug from Richard Arche as the Eagles coach arrives for the hall of fame ceremony at John Marshall High. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Andy Reid gets a hug from Richard Arche as the Eagles coach arrives for the hall of fame ceremony at John Marshall High. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Posted: June 16, 2012

LOS ANGELES - Many at John Marshall High School didn't know who he was, at first.

"Who the hell is Andy Reid?" one boy said.

But when the football coach informed his players that the man in the Tommy Bahama black shirt, white cargo shorts, and flip-flops - like them a Barrister - helmed the Philadelphia Eagles, a large crowd engulfed the NFL coach.

Reid went back to his Los Angeles high school Friday, first to check out the old stadium where he played as a teenager, and then to be inducted into the John Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame.

There was a small, informal ceremony 14 years ago in which Reid was first named to the hall. But he had just gotten the Eagles job and could not attend. The school, however, wanted to do it right, and a formal induction was held for Reid and 22 other onetime Barristers, including former Oakland Raider Michael Haynes.

"You can remember every play from your high school career," Reid said prior to the ceremony. "You move on and [the years after] start blending. But high school - you remember every stinking thing that happened. I think it's because you grew up with the guys."

Several of Reid's teammates and friends made the trek back to Marshall to celebrate with him. One of his closest friends and another member of Marshall's Class of 1976, Lee Bruno, inducted him.

Bruno, a tight end and defensive end, cocaptained the Barristers with Reid, who was a defensive tackle and offensive lineman. Reid, a four-sport letterman (football, baseball, basketball, and track), was named most inspirational player on his football team as a senior.

"He just had a very can-do attitude," Bruno said of Reid. "It's just like everything he's done in his life. And everybody just gravitated toward him because he brought that positive attitude."

Reid arrived in California not long after the Eagles concluded minicamp Thursday. After settling into their vacation home in Dana Point in Orange County, Reid and his wife, Tammy, drove up to his native city the following day. Reid's older brother, Reggie, along with Bruno and another friend, went along for the ride.

Reid and his brother revisited their childhood home in the Los Feliz neighborhood, paid respects to the kindly woman across the street who often watched over them, and reminisced about their time growing up in Los Angeles.

Reid sold the two-bedroom, adobe-style home in 1998, not long after his mother died. His father had died several years earlier. The house sits on a hill, and if you walk to the street where Reid tossed football after football, you can see the tower of the high school.

The neighborhood is diverse and was when Reid lived here. The high school reflected the demographics, as did the turbulent relations between the black and Hispanic communities. On the football field, however, the players put their differences aside, Reid said.

"We had a bunch of different people that came here and there was a big problem. That time in the city was volatile," Reid said. "It was kind of my job, I guess, to make sure all those guys played together."

Once a unifier of players, always a coach.

The team was coached by a Japanese American, Hiroshi Tanaka, who could not attend last night's ceremony because he was ill. Tanaka spent part of his youth in a Japanese relocation and internment camp in Utah during World War II, Reid said.

"He was just passionate about coaching," Reid said as he stood on the Marshall football field.

It's turf now, and named in honor of Haynes. Reid said the field was mostly dirt when he played. He, Bruno, and his friends used to hop the 15-foot-high fence and play there even before they arrived as sophomores.

Reggie Reid, 10 years older, played running back for Marshall. Andy Reid said he idolized his brother and memorized the number of every player on his teams, but also knew they weren't very good.

"I'm the little brother - he's 18 and I'm 8, and I'd say, 'When I get there, we're going to dominate. We're going to dominate,' " Reid said. "And you know what? We did all right."

The Barristers went 7-3 in Reid's senior year and reached the quarterfinals in the city playoffs. Reid kicked three game-winning field goals that season, the longest a 36-yarder. Reid went on to play at Glendale Junior College and then transferred to Brigham Young. He started coaching right out of college and never looked back - almost.

Reid was genuinely excited to return to Marshall, a majestic high school made of red brick, where much of the film Grease was shot. Reid walked the halls, was mobbed by students in the quad - once some were told who he was - and then ventured back onto the field.

He tossed a football with one student and posed for pictures, even with the young man who whipped out his Dallas Cowboys wallet. Reid gave that a thumbs-down. One student did remember that a trophy was named in honor of the onetime graduate.

The Andy Reid Trophy, housed in a case above the one named for Michael Haynes, goes annually to the best football lineman.

"He was probably a better offensive lineman than defensive tackle," Bruno said of Reid. "I always remember there being holes for our running backs. . . . But, probably what I'll always remember is that he was just a natural leader."


Contact Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

 

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