Jack Reed is more than just a retired history teacher from upstate Jordan-Elbridge. He is a high school coach, a very successful one, who has led Skaneateles to numerous State and County titles. After retiring from teaching in 2006, Reed wanted to do something to memorialize his time as a Coach in one of the strongest sections in the country. So he wrote. All summer in fact, gaining encouragement and support from the close network of friends cross country coaching provides.
"I wanted to pay tribute to the sport," Reed said. "I have a history background, so I wanted to produce a piece of running history for runners to engage with for years to come. I think I've accomplished that with Back to the Front."
It would take until 2009 for the first release to come out commercially. When it did, kids were able to read a humbling story of the truth behind the titles. Coach Reed lays it all out on the table, holds nothing back of the tragic car accident that took the life of a teenager, the former Skaneateles athlete-turned Olympian emailing Reed the day before his biggest race ever, and even the personal turmoil of coaching an unsuccessful team after a decade of champions. Back to the Front is a must read for any cross country coach in New York state. The intimate relationship Reed describes with the sport is mirrored every weekend throughout the state. Topics still being talked about today, such as team uniforms at states, are intimately addressed through Reed's own frustrations with the sport he loves. A story like no other before it, the text is laced with emails from parents and athletes, letters from former athletes 20 years later, and dozens of recounted memories that will last a lifetime for their possessors.
Since publication, Jack Reed has published two other novels. Been Dead Already, and the soon to be released Undefeated, are both fictional stories based on people in Reed's life. The personal triumphs in both stories are uplifting, and not to be missed. The perfect holiday gift, you can order your own copy at Reed's website, www.jackreedbooks.com , or on Amazon as well.
About the Books
Back to the Front
is an intimate, raw, honest and unflinching story of students who dared to live for each other. It celebrates sweat, sacrifice and the daily grind that leads to the euphoria of championship racing. This is a must-read for students, athletes, parents, teachers and coaches!
Been Dead Already
masterfully delivers the classic story of one boy’s coming of age set against a haunting backdrop of prison life, a bucolic vacation community and one man’s triumphant struggle to come back from the brink of hopelessness. Its religious, political and educational overtones will make you question long-held assumptions.
is an intimate story of a now retired runner in Florida. The novel follows his life as he trains to get back in shape for just one more race. During his nightly runs, he encounters the ghost of a boy, a boy who went undefeated in his own racing career. The story is a gripping tale of tragedy and triumph, as the retiree just wants to run one more time.
About Coach Jack Reed
Back to the Front (first printing 2008, 2011)
Been Dead Already (2011)
Once We Played, Now We Teach—A Collection of Essays (2005)
Contributed over 800 newspaper articles on Cross Country and Track & Field
Published in Track Coach Magazine, the official technical publication of USA Track & Field
Published in the NCAA News
Teacher of the Year
Coach of the Year—Cross Country
Coach of the Year—Indoor Track
Coach of the Year—Outdoor Track
Coached a combined team for two winters consisting of Marcellus, Jordan-Elbridge and Skaneateles
Cross Country Girls NY State Champions 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003
Cross Country Girls NY State Runners-up 1999
Cross Country Girls Third Place 1996, 1997, 2006
15-year unbeaten streak in the Onondaga High School League 1993-2007 (93 straight)
Cross Country Boys #1 Rank in final NYS poll 1994
Cross Country Boys Top 3 Finishes in NYS 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999
Girls 4x800, 5-Time New York State Champions
Jonathon Riley—Stanford; Athens Olympian, NCAA 5000 Meter Champion,
11-Time Stanford All American, 3-time USA Indoor 3000 meter champ
James Goss—Lynchburg; NCAA Long Jump Champion, NCAA South/Southeast Athlete of the Year,
10-Time Lynchburg All-American, Head Coach, Nazareth College
Ann Abrahamson—Syracuse University; coSIDA Academic All-American
Big East All-Academic;
Michelle LaFleur—Cortland State; Professional Runner, NCAA XC, 1500, 5k Champion
45 named All-State