New challenge sees Reynolds join select band of elite coaches

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, December 17, 2017

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Having won the Walker Cup, the Super Cup and reached the Manning Cup football final with Wolmer's Boys' School, many people were surprised when Vassell Reynolds walked away in March to take up the coaching job at Rusea's High School.

But nine months later Reynolds has joined a select band of coaches who have won titles in both the Corporate Area and rural area football competitions, thanks to his victory with Rusea's High in the daCosta Cup final.

Derek Tomkinson (Jamaica College and Vere Technical), Oliver Clue (STETHS and Charlie Smith), Frank Brown (Dinthill and Excelsior) and Jackie Walters, sitting at the top of the list with Camperdown, Glenmuir High and Clarendon College, all won both the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup titles.

Tomkinson, an Englishman, won six titles overall, three titles with JC between 1961-63 and three more with Vere Technical between 1965-68. Clue won with STETHS in 1974 and twice with Charlie Smith in 1988 and 1990. Brown had four titles, winning twice with Dinthill Technical in 1979 and 1981, and again at Excelsior in 1989 and 1993.

Walters is the only person to win the Triple Crown with three different schools. The legend first tasted success at Camperdown in 1978, 1979 and 1982. He went on to Clarendon College and won three titles in 1994, 1996 and 1998. Then he took another Clarendon team in Glenmuir High to their first title in 2004 and followed that up with further victories in 2006 and 2012. In all, Walters remarkably won nine Manning Cup and DaCosta Cup titles.

Reynolds' success is somewhat different in that he didn't win the Manning Cup, but won the Walker Cup and the FLOW Super Cup at Wolmer's Boys' School, before capturing the daCosta Cup title in his first year at Rusea's and he was a bit surprised and didn't expect victory that quickly.

“To be honest, no. My thing was to come here and start to build a foundation. But one of the things I saw early was the nucleus of experienced players in the squad. I thought that if I could get my philosophy quickly and get them organised and get commitment from them, we could challenge for a quarter-final round,” Reynold told the Jamaica Observer.

“We did that and when we looked at the teams and their level of performance, if we could improve about 50 per cent we could be in the semi-finals, and once we did that anything is possible,” he added.

Reynolds also pointed out that it was a difficult decision to leave a Wolmer's team that was building momentum to a Rusea's team that achieved little in the last few years.

“It was difficult in the fact that the programme at Wolmer's was on the rise, led by five years before that from Ludlow Bernard. He did an excellent job,” said Reynolds.

He continued: “But the best time to move on is when you are on a high and I thought that I need to carry that momentum into a new programme. This is what builds character in a coach: the new challenge and the ability to take on new challenge and my thing is just hard work.

“But none of us knew that this kind of success would have transpired. My intention was that I think I would have contributed a lot to the constant development to the football programme at Wolmer's and two years in winning the Walker Cup and Super Cup and reached the Manning Cup final.

“But some offers came to me and I thought it was time for a new challenge and the sort of tradition and culture at Rusea's I was aware of, and in a way it is somewhat justified. I just wanted that new challenge and come back to my roots really in terms of rural football,” said Reynolds.




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