Earning a chance

Calhoun shows faith in assistant Reese

YOUNGSTOWN — All Danny Reese wanted was a chance.

Jerrod Calhoun was more than willing to give the 2011 Cardinal Mooney graduate an opportunity.

Calhoun was just hired in late March as the new Youngstown State University men’s basketball coach. Reese, a 24-year-old administrative assistant, was with former YSU coach Jerry Slocum’s staff and was a walk-on for the former Penguins coach.

One thing he knew, he wanted to stay at YSU. So, Reese and Calhoun had a conversation soon after Calhoun was hired to talk about Reese’s future.

Slocum and his former staff spoke very highly of Reese, his work ethic and relationship with the players. Calhoun was impressed with Reese’s presentation and hasn’t regretted keeping the Cardinal Mooney graduate on staff.

“It’s funny, everywhere we go, somebody knows Danny Reese,” Calhoun said. “It’s like the mayor on a smaller level of Youngstown. Just his connections, the people he knows — I wanted a guy to give us the lay of the land, whether it was restaurants, donor relationships, relationships with the high school coaches. This kid had the whole package.”

Calhoun also saw something in Reese. Calhoun was in the same situation more than 10 years ago at the start of his career.

Calhoun came to Cincinnati as a graduate assistant, trying to get his start in coaching. Bob Huggins helped him then, which Calhoun is now doing for Reese.

Reese’s administrative duties include assisting academic support, community outreach, camps and other issues to help out with day-to-day operations of the YSU men’s basketball office.

“I did a lot of the stuff he’s doing now with coach Huggins,” Calhoun said. “When I first got in at Cincinnati, I was young guy trying to claw and scrape. I’d like to see Danny continue to work and get better. He’s doing all those things.”

Reese is looking to be an asset to YSU’s impeding success.

“Hopefully I can help out the rest of the staff as much as I can and get us a bunch of wins this fall,” he said.

Reese said Slocum helped put him in this position.

“Coach Slocum was unbelievable for me,” he said. “Obviously he allowed me to play for him and work under him. (I’m) very thankful for every opportunity coach Slocum gave me. Learned a lot under him. That set me up to have another opportunity with coach Calhoun.”

This opportunity could lead to something great for the former Cardinal Mooney basketball standout as Calhoun continues to give Reese opportunities, including going to last month’s Horizon League men’s basketball meetings in Detroit.

“He’s going to continue to grow, move up the chain and master the job that he’s in, which is very difficult,” Calhoun said. “He’s not only managing me, but he’s managing the entire office on a day-to-day basis. That’s stressful. His next transition is doing an operations-type job and get on the road and recruit.

“If we win and he continues to develop, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”