South Laurel High School administration, staff, students and alumni are mourning the loss of a teacher, coach and friend.
South Laurel bass fishing assistant coach Darin Reed passed away late Saturday night at the age of 52.
He was the son of longtime Laurel County basketball coach Raymond Reed, who passed away in 2016.
Reed followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an assistant coach on both the girls and boys basketball teams at South Laurel and on the bass fishing team.
He also started a scholarship in his father’s name, which he would give to the “most deserving” senior at South Laurel each year.
Reed was an instrumental part of the formation of the South Laurel bass fishing team, which was formed in 2013, serving alongside head coach Dennis Hammonds.
Hammonds said that Reed was the perfect candidate for the job of assistant coach.
“He knew a whole lot about fishing because he’s done it all his life with his dad and his brother,” Hammonds said. “He just loved the sport of fishing. He loved everything that it was about and he really loved working with the kids. You could just see it in his eyes when he was talking about it.”
Reed encouraged students to join the fishing team, with the hope that it would give all students an opportunity to join a sports team in school and would be a sport that they could continue doing beyond high school and college, while also motivating students to excel in the classroom.
“When fishing first started, the first thing he was talking about was how much it would help the kids who may not do other sports but like to fish,” Hammonds said. “He was really excited to be able to work with the kids and give them something they could do for the rest of their lives. He was always looking for that person that he could help out through fishing.”
Reed also helped to lead the team to their first-ever KHSAA State Bass Fishing Championship earlier this year.
Hammonds said Reed was an instrumental part of the bass fishing team winning its first state championship, as he was an expert in fishing ledges, which is what much of Kentucky Lake is, where the state tournament was held.
“When we won it, he was really excited because a lot of his information is what made it possible for us to win,” Hammonds said. “The kids, when they won, the things that they said when they won it, it touched him a lot because they were thanking him for his part in it.”
“He’s going to be missed a lot, not just by the fishing team but also by the kids he coached in basketball,” Hammonds added. “He’ll be missed.”
The South Laurel High School administration shared a statement on Reed’s passing:
“We are saddened beyond words today. This weekend we lost one of our own, and our hearts are truly broken. Darin Reed was more than a teacher, coach, and colleague, he was a friend. He was loved by his fishing team, by his coworkers, by good kids, he was even loved by the difficult kids. South Laurel was more than a job to him, it was his home and his family. He came to work with a smile and a kind word every day. He took time to speak to others and to sit and hear their stories. He laughed easily and loved big. He was kind, generous, and loyal. He will be forever missed by all of us and his friendship treasured in our hearts. Please keep his family in your prayers.”
The Laurel County School District also released a statement:
“Darin Ray Reed was a beloved staff member of the SLHS school family. Darin was a fisherman known for his great storytelling and sense of humor. Both a coach and a teacher, but more importantly, a friend to many. Please keep the Reed family in your thoughts and prayers. Bowling Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.”
The visitation will be held tonight at Bowling Funeral Home at 6 p.m.