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Eastern Michigan safeties coach Fred Reed dies at 54; also coached with Lions

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Eastern Michigan assistant football coach Fred Reed, who spent seven seasons as the Eagles' pass-game coordinator and safeties coach and also previously coached with the Lions, died Sunday. He was 54.

A cause of death wasn't immediately announced by the university. A school spokesman was authorized by the family to call it a "medical emergency."

Eastern Michigan assistant football coach Fred Reed, who spent seven seasons as the Eagles' pass-game coordinator and safeties coach and also previously coached with the Lions, died Sunday.

Reed coached football for 27 years, including 25 seasons in college.

"We are devastated to learn of Coach Reed's passing," Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said in a statement. "Fred was the ultimate model of a husband, father, friend, and coach. Our hearts go out to his wife, La'Shannon, his children, Amar'e and Khamara, and anyone who was lucky enough to have known him. He will be dearly missed."

Said head football coach Chris Creighton: "Please keep Coach Reed's family in your thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time. It is impossible to capture what he means to all of us right now."

Eastern Michigan said grief counselors would be made available for student-athletes, coaches and staff, who were stunned and saddened Sunday.

As much as a football coach could be, Reed was universally well-liked.

"Challenged every athlete in our program to be better players but more importantly better men. I’ll cherish the our conversations talking schemes and sharing life experiences," senior linebacker Tariq Speights wrote on Twitter. "Love you Coach. So blessed I got to play for such a great man like you."

Reed's son, Amar'e, is an Eastern Michigan commitment. He's a linebacker at Canton, and posted on Twitter, "We lost a great dad, coach and all around man today. You were what pushed me and always will be."

Reed joined Creighton's staff at Eastern Michigan in 2016, after three years at Syracuse. He initially coached cornerbacks, and switched to safeties in 2020.

His first year on the job, Eastern Michigan allowed 86.5 yards per game fewer than the previous season. In 2017, EMU allowed 3.8 points per game over the final 15 minutes, and never allowed a fourth-quarter point at home. In 2018, EMU had the best defense in the Mid-American Conference. This past season, EMU forced 18 turnovers. Reed helped EMU to four bowl games.

In college, Reed also coached at Syracuse, Ohio (twice), Buffalo, Nebraska-Omaha, Michigan Tech, South Dakota and Minnesota Morris. He began his coaching career in 1996, after graduating from Colorado Mesa University in 1994. He had bachelor's and master's degrees.

The only time he left the college coaching ranks, Reed was on Rod Marinelli's staff with the Lions in 2006 and 2007, as a defensive assistant, coaching safeties such as Kenoy Kennedy, Terrence Holt, Daniel Bullocks and Gerald Alexander.

Funeral service information wasn't immediately available Sunday night.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984