BLOOMDALE - When Doug Reynolds took over as the Elmwood boys basketball coach three years ago, few people could have stepped into the position and been more familiar with the surroundings.
Reynolds not only wore a Royals uniform, but he also played for his father Charles, who was Elmwood's coach from 1967-80.
So this isn't just another job to add to the resume of the former Hopewell-Loudon girls coach, whose work history includes leading the Chieftains to one state championship and one state runner-up finish. You might say Reynolds finds himself fulfilling a destiny.
“I've enjoyed it here,” he said of his return to Elmwood where he graduated in 1974. “They want a good basketball program. They want to be successful and they back you, and that's always good.”
So the Elmwood alumnus is back home where it all started. Getting the opportunity to coach at his alma mater also brings him back to the community that helped mold him into the person he has become.
Doug's cousin, Gary, is the Elmwood girls coach.
With all that in mind, Reynolds filled the coaching vacancy with pride, knowing that he has an opportunity to make a difference in his old neighborhood. Here's a chance to give back to his community.
“We've got to get things going in the right direction,” he said.
Reynolds, whose daughter DiDi plays for Ohio State and was the key player on Hopewell-Loudon's state championship team, said making the transition from coaching girls to coaching boys wasn't difficult.
It's coaching basketball.
“When I came back I approached it no differently than when I coached at Hopewell-Loudon. You have some very good girls players, you have some very good boys players.”
The start to the third season for the Royals under Reynolds couldn't have gone any better. Elmwood is 8-1 overall and 6-0 and leading the Suburban Lakes League entering its home game tonight against Otsego (6-4, 5-1). Elmwood's only loss came against Van Buren.
In a preseason coaches' poll the Royals were picked to finish in the middle of the SLL pack.
“Nobody ever really knows what other teams are going to have each year,” Reynolds said. “It's really about how a team comes together.
“We're playing better than what others thought we'd play this season. We've just come together really well.”
Elmwood's latest league win, a 65-62 victory over Eastwood a week ago tonight, exemplified how the Royals have played this season as a cohesive unit with one thing in mind: Winning.
When Elmwood's Travis Rothenbuhler was held to four points in the second half, after he had scored 14 in the first, his teammates responded. Evan Donoho and Tony Overton finished the game with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Nonetheless, the 6-3 swingman, who has averaged 18 points a game the past two years, remains the focal point of Elmwood's offense. The southpaw is consistent from mid-range and around the basket. He's shooting above 50 percent from the field for the second year in a row.
Elmwood's best SLL finish under Reynolds is third. Even though the Royals weren't expected to challenge for the championship this season, Reynolds felt optimistic over the summer. That was when he witnessed the team come together.
“We had a very good summer,” Reynolds said. “We played some good competition and we did pretty good in our scrimmages. But I still tell my kids that we're still under construction and we have work to do.”
To be sure, the Royals have at least built a good foundation.41.17009 -83.55434