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Greg Reo — TimesLedger PSAL Baseball Coach of the Year

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Greg Reo’s head was spinning.

He had just left interviewing for the vacant Richmond Hill coaching job, a position some close to him warned him to avoid, and he could hardly see straight.

“I left the interview and thought, ‘This is nuts,’” Reo said. “They had no field, it was a total rebuilding process.”

But he took the job anyway, inheriting a team that was 0-12 and two years later the TimesLedger PSAL Queens Baseball Coach of the Year is a big reason for the resurgence at Richmond Hill as the Lions finished 16-12 and made the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Led by senior pitchers Luis Abreu and Jorge Rivera, as well as the leadership of junior catcher Jason Martinez, the Lions gave mighty Grand Street Campus a first-round scare, losing just 2-1.

But when Reo first took the job, the postseason was the furthest thing from his mind.

“We barely had enough kids, I was throwing guys off [the team] left and right,” he said. “We got [mercy-run ruled] 10 times last year. I thought, ‘this isn’t worth it. I can’t watch Bad News Bears baseball.’”

But soon it didn’t matter they didn’t have a home field. A new attitude was forming. Reo had purchased team jackets and students in the school were starting to realize there actually was a baseball team.

Reo, who went 6-16 his first year, has baseball in his blood. He played for Canarsie High School in Brooklyn and went on to play college ball at Kingsborough, Wagner and Queens College.

“The minute I graduated Queens College,” Reo said, he called Bobby Nappo, his coach at Canarsie and told him he’d be interested in coaching.

Nappo agreed and brought Reo in as an assistant coach.

“It was the best two years. I learned from him,” Reo said. “He let me grow. I put in my time there.”

He left Canarsie to take the head coaching position of the junior varsity team at New Utrecht. A year later, he was at Richmond Hill.

“I had to teach them how to win,” Reo said of his group at Richmond Hill. “No one knew how to win, they’d get scared. It’s amazing how it’s come about.”

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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