Providence Academy names Reed baseball coach

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Dec 17, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Providence Academy announced Monday the hiring of former Major League Baseball catcher and World Series champion Jeff Reed as its new baseball coach.

Reed played for 17 years in the Major Leagues with the Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs, where he sported a .250 batting average. In 1998, he caught Tom Browning's perfect game as a member of the Reds. Two seasons later, he was part of the Reds' 1990 World Series winning team.

The Illinois native has lived in Elizabethton for the past three decades and has been the hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins' rookie-league affiliate since 2002. The Elizabethton Twins have won the last two Appalachian League titles.

In addition, Reed has coached youth baseball players in the area through private lessons and as an assistant coach at Science Hill.

He's excited to pass on his knowledge to a new group of players. His coaching staff will include his son, Lance, who played at Science Hill when Reed was an assistant there, and Heath Loyd, who played at Science Hill and the University of Tennessee.

"I work for the Twins and that's great, but I like to help kids grow," Reed said. "Providence is a Christian-based school and that was appealing to me. I felt like doing this, I could impact more kids. When they asked if Lance wanted to come on board, that was great."

Reed, a first-round and 12th overall pick in the 1980 MLB draft, praised Providence's commitment to academics as well as athletics. He added that Providence Head of School Ben Holland has a vision for athletics that was appealing. In a statement to announce the hiring, Holland pointed out this was Providence Academy's 25th anniversary.

"The Providence foundation is built on a Christ-centered and classical approach to learning, and during the school's first 25 years, Providence has built an academic reputation that few schools can match," Holland said. "We look forward to supporting our academic excellence with excellence in arts and athletics as well. With this vision in mind, I am excited to announce that we have hired a man with the Christ-like character and baseball experience to lead our program to be able to compete with the best — Jeff Reed."

Providence Academy, which currently has 448 students, has plans to join the TSSAA in 2020. The Knights already have many of the local TSSAA schools on their 2018-19 schedule. It includes a season-opener at Sullivan North on March 12 and a game against University High at ETSU's Thomas Stadium two days later. They have home-and-home games against Hampton and Unaka as well.

"They have a vision to grow and a vision for the future," Reed said. "I'm glad I can be a small part of it. I'm going to bring in the best people I can with me and we're going to do the best job we can."

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