Juan Reid, whose academic and athletic pursuits have touched a broad spectrum of American life, was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame on his seventy-first birthday in 1979.
Reid served Colorado College in Colorado Springs as athlete, student, coach, athletic director, dean of men, and director of alumni relations for more than forty years.
Reid’s athletic career influenced the selection of the first three inductees of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He played two years at Colorado College with Earl “Dutch” Clark in football, basketball and baseball, later assisting the great All-American Clark in coaching the Tiger football team. He also played against Byron “Whizzer” White of CU. And when Jack Dempsey, then world heavyweight boxing champion, came to Lowry Field on tour, it was Reid who acted as a guide.
As an athletic director from 1942-45 at Buckley Field, Reid helped organize the Denver Victory League in basketball and baseball, coaching a feisty Irish second baseman named Danny Murtaugh, former manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and cutting from that same team a pitcher named Vic Raschi, who later starred for the New York Yankees.
Reid played basketball against two other Sports Hall of Famers, Jack McCracken and Ace Gruenig, and he helped coach a future NBA star, Arny Johnson.
Reid also coached the greats outside of athletics. He coached the future president of Getty Oil, Harold Berg, and once called the best pitch of Bill Spencer (who was then the President of the First National City Bank of New York) a mature ball because, according to Reid, “you could hit the …. out of it.”
When a promising young basketball player needed a coaching job, it was Reid who introduced Larry Varnell to Regis High School, and from there, into Denver athletic circles. Varnell is also a past president of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
During his span as athletic director of Colorado College, Reid’s hockey teams won the NCAA title twice, in 1950 and 1957, and were runners-up twice. He also expanded the school’s athletic program from eight to eleven sports with the addition of swimming, skiing and soccer.
Reid is fond of telling the story of his son, who at six taught him the game of chess when Reid was forty years old. Reid fell in love with the game and in 1959, organized the Colorado State Chess Association. He directed the association’s first tournament and served as its president from 1959-62. He also received the groups’ Distinguished Service Award in 1964.
Reid’s talents have not been limited to sports, however; his community service work includes the Colorado Springs Boys Club, Pikes Peak Mental Health Center, the American Red Cross, Pikes Peak United Fund, El Paso County Historical Society and the advisors committee to the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation District.
Reid has had more than twenty relatives and in-laws attend Colorado College, an indication of his allegiance to the school.
Reid’s talents have not been limited to sports.