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Former TFS baseball coach Ken Reynolds wins Distinguished Service Award

LANSING, Ill. (March 3, 2023) – It’s been an emotional year or so for Ken Reynolds.

“I had a personally difficult 2022, losing my mom and mother-in-law,” the longtime Lansing resident said.

But Reynolds has had some career highlights as well. Last spring, the former baseball player, assistant coach, and head coach at TF South had his jersey retired at a ceremony attended by former Rebels star and MLB outfielder Curtis Granderson, among others.

Then in January, Reynolds accepted the Mike Herbert Distinguished Service Award at the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association (IHSBCA) annual banquet.

“That was really nice on the heels of the jersey retirement,” Reynolds said. “It was a nice 1-2 punch, in a good way.”

Four decades of baseball

Ken Reynolds
Former TF South player, assistant coach and head coach Ken Reynolds accepted the Mike Herbert Distinguished Service Award at the annual banquet of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association. (Photo provided)

The award puts a bow on Reynolds’ service to the TF South program in particular and high school baseball in general over nearly four decades.

He set the program single-season record by hitting .441 as a senior in 1984 and started his coaching career six years later at Marian Catholic. After two seasons with the Spartans, he returned home to Lansing as an assistant to his high school coach, IHSBCA Hall of Famer Bill Anderson.

“He became a second father to me after losing mine very young,” said Reynolds, who took over as head coach in 2002 after Anderson retired. “Being able to succeed him was something I wanted to do from 17, 18 years old.”

Anderson won 60% of his games over 34 seasons, taking South to the 1990 Class AA state tournament, and had the Red Wolves’ field named in his honor.

“I joked that I just wanted a sprinkler head named after me someday,” Reynolds said.

But he did leave his mark in a seven-year run as head coach, helping to organize a $100,000 facility upgrade in 2007. He also served as vice president and president of the South Suburban Baseball Coaches Association.

Reynolds later spent two seasons as an assistant at Richards before returning to TF South for two more years on head coach Matt Tiffy’s staff in 2016–17.

It was a meaningful and memorable time for Reynolds, who coached his son Louis years after riding around the infield on a tractor with the latter on his lap. Daughter Cori, who followed her dad into coaching as a softball assistant at Joliet West, also grew up on the South baseball field.

Ken Reynolds
Ken Reynolds was joined by his wife Sally, son Louis and daughter Cori when his TF South baseball jersey was retired last spring. (Photo provided)

Family ties

During his IHSBCA banquet speech, Reynolds highlighted his wife Sally and his children for their support during his coaching career. And he also reflected on family ties during his final stint at TF South, which included the baseball team’s first out-of-state spring trip to Arizona in 2016.

That was a homecoming for Reynolds, who lived in the Phoenix area until his father’s death when he was 9 years old. Reynolds placed flowers on his father’s grave on that trip. He also reflected on their shared love for the Chicago Cubs, who broke sports’ most famous drought by winning their first World Series since 1908 later that year.

“Talk about putting a bow on it,” Reynolds said. “That was a full circle for me.”

“Not closing the door”

As for coaching again? Never say never.

“If I do go back, it would be in the high school or college ranks, if someone would have me,” said Reynolds, who now serves as Lansing’s director of venue operations. “I’m not closing the door on it.”

But if he is done coaching, those two awards were a great cap on his career.

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Mike Clark
Mike Clarkhttps://muckrack.com/mike-clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.