Talk about your long weekends. Given his choice, Reid would have preferred a root canal. For the past 11 years he had worked as an assistant coach at BYU, and for most of the 30 years before that he had plotted how to get there. He figured that was a good, long time. Well, at least it was if you didn't compare it to Saturday and Sunday.
Just a year ago, his BYU loyalties had gone through their most severe test. Jim Harrick, the newly hired head coach at UCLA and a longtime friend and admirer of Reid, flew Reid and his wife, Diane, to Los Angeles. They were given a tour of the stars' homes in Beverly Hills, and then asked which one they'd like to live in.
It was all rather flattering. The Bruins said they could offer two cars, a salary in the $70,000 range for the first year, and the $100,000 range for the second year, eight season tickets to UCLA football games in the Rose Bowl, and the option to trade two of those tickets to a car dealer for yet another car, L.A. being big on motor vehicles.
Roger said he'd have to go home to Springville and think it over.
He thought that was a tough weekend.
The bottom line then, and now, was that he just couldn't leave his roots, not even for Westwood and the secure knowledge that if you make it at UCLA, a head job is sure to follow.
Roger Reid grew up bleeding royal blue blood; and some things never change. "BYU has always been the ultimate, always will be," he said Monday.
"I can remember growing up in Springville and coming over to the games at the old Smith Fieldhouse. We couldn't get in the gym sometimes, so we'd just smell the hot dogs, and look through that wire fence, trying to see inside."
BYU basketball always did play hard-to-get for Reid. He was a schoolboy star (in baseball and basketball) in Springville, but when he signed a two-sport scholarship with BYU in 1966 they nudged him more toward baseball. Actually, "pushed" might be a better word. "The trouble was, I was 5-10, and they thought they had better guards than me," said Roger. The Cougar varsity was loaded with guards - Dick Nemelka, Jeff Congden, Kenny James, Jim Jimas and Randy Schouten, to name five names - who helped that '66 team win the NIT.
Rather than give up college basketball, Reid transferred to the College of Eastern Utah, where he was a junior college All-American. From there he went to Weber State, where he continued to play both basketball and baseball.
The basketball coach at Weber was Dick Motta - to this day, Reid's mentor - and he told Reid up front, "I've got four guards ahead of you, and they're on scholarship. If you want a spot on this team, you better get every loose ball. You better be diving into the bleachers. On defense, you better be like a cat on a screen door."
So Reid was, and although he starred in baseball (he played four years after college as a professional, going as high as the triple-A level), he also came through in basketball, starting on the first Weber State team to ever play in an NCAA tournament.
"I never had anything handed to me," he says. "I think that's helped me as a coach. The jobs will always be open when practice begins in the fall on my teams. Everybody earns his spot. Players who don't know how to say thank you, I have a problem with."
Typically, when BYU finally came through for Reid; when they called him Monday morning at 8 and told him there would be a press conference at 10, naming him the new guy, he didn't rip them for putting him through a weekend of grief, for giving his nerves a three-day torture course, for causing him to wonder for the first time in his life how to spell "Maalox." All he did was jump in the air. That and say, "thank you."