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Published: Tuesday, 12/1/2009

Coach led his teams to state lacrosse titles

James E. Reed, the lacrosse coach who led St. John's Jesuit High School and Sylvania City Schools to become state champions and retired from the Ford Motor Co. as an area manager at the Maumee Stamping Plant, died Wednesday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township. He was 61.

Mr. Reed had been diagnosed with brain cancer about 15 months ago, his wife, Cindy Reed, said.

Mr. Reed was known as "a rough-and-tumble-type coach" who worked his players to become their personal best, said Mike McComish, who was his assistant coach at St. John's and took over as head coach when Mr. Reed left to coach for Sylvania. Mr. McComish's son played for Mr. Reed's team before he joined the coaching ranks.

"Lacrosse is such a finesse game, but it looks very rough," Mr. McComish said. "Jim enjoyed that part of the game."

Mr. Reed became lacrosse coach for St. John's in 2000 and led the team to become state champions in 2004. That year he was named Division II Coach of the Year and Head Coach of the Ohio (North) All-Star team. The team now competes in Division I.

He left St. John's in 2006 to coach the Sylvania Maple Leafs, which included players from both Sylvania Northview and Southview high schools. The team won Division III state championships in 2007 and 2008.

Mr. Reed also was trained as a lacrosse official and often spent the weekends he wasn't coaching by traveling to referee games in Columbus or Cleveland.

"Where there was a lacrosse game, there was Jim Reed," Mr. McComish said. "He was just one of the good guys. Everyone respected Jim Reed. Everyone respected what he'd done."

Mr. Reed also served four years on the executive board of the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association, the governing body of the sport. He was honored by the association in June as an inductee of the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Mr. Reed was raised in New Jersey and attended Drexel University in Philadelphia. After his football coach recruited him to play lacrosse, Mr. Reed remained on both teams until his final year of college. He was captain of the lacrosse team in 1970. Before he graduated in 1971, Mr. Reed became assistant coach of the team.

His first job with Ford was in Indiana, where he met his wife. Months after their marriage in 1974, Mr. Reed was transferred to the Maumee plant, where he would spend the rest of his career. The couple raised four children here.

Mr. Reed became interested in lacrosse again in the early 1990s when his only son, James, said he would like to learn the sport. His son found lacrosse sticks and gloves under the Christmas tree that year, and Mr. Reed practiced with him on the weekends.

Mr. Reed encouraged all of his children to participate in athletics, his son said, and never missed his daughters' dance recitals or son's lacrosse matches.

He coached lacrosse until last year, when his health would no longer allow him to do so, his wife said.

Mr. Reed retired in 2007 after 36 years with Ford, and recently served as chairman of the Springfield Township Zoning Board. He was a 32nd-degree Mason and was president of the Calumet Lodge in 1996 before the lodge merged with the Northern Light Lodge.

Mr. Reed is survived by his wife, Cindy; son, James; daughters, Jennifer Knippen, Lauren Schroeder, and Christine Reed; sister, Marcia Hamilton; brother, Hayden, and a grandson.

Friends may call from 1 to 6 p.m. today at Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home in Maumee. Services will follow at 6 p.m.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Chris Elliott Fund for Glioblastoma Brain Cancer Research.

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