Basketball is a triple play for Reg, Cassius and Winston family
Detroit – Minutes after U-D Jesuit’s dominating 91-54 win over Roseville in Tuesday night’s Division 1 state quarterfinal game at Calihan Hall, Reginald “Reg” Winston had to know he had a busy weekend ahead … again.
You see, Reg Winston has been a longtime assistant coach at U-D, working with head coach Pat Donnelly while coaching his sons Cassius, Zachary and now his youngest son, Khy.
Reg and his wife, Wendi, keep a hectic pace, trying to keep up with their sons’ schedules. Cassius is a junior at Michigan State, Zach is a freshman at Albion College and Khy is a senior at U-D.
And, while Zachary’s season is over after helping Albion College win its first MIAA tournament title since 2005, a lot is still on the line for Winston and Khy.
Khy and U-D Jesuit – 24-2 and ranked No. 3 in the final Detroit News Super 20 – will play No. 18 Okemos in a Division 1 state semifinal at the Breslin Center Friday while Cassius – the Big Ten Player of the Year – and the Spartans will be busy in Chicago at the Big Ten tournament.
“It’s a little hectic, but we’ve grown up in gyms so it’s a dream come true,” Reg said. “I’ve missed a game here or there (as U-D assistant). We’re all going to the high school game because this is my youngest son Khy’s last go-round and he’s playing for a state championship, and that’s big. How many chances do you get to do that? Hopefully, Cassius can make it to Sunday’s game (Big Ten title game), but if not we still have the NCAA Tournament.”
Reg and Wendi need to do a lot of advance planning to stay organized.
“We start the year with a big poster-size calendar on our kitchen wall, everyone’s schedule highlighted, and go from there,” said Reg. “Sometimes we’ll flip a coin and we’ll split – Wendi will go to one game and I’ll go to another. But she’s going to watch Khy play at Breslin this weekend.
“I’ve gotten to see Cassius play a lot, the majority of his games – didn’t go to Nebraska, didn’t go to Iowa – but I got to see a lot of away games if it didn’t conflict with U-D games. I also got to the majority of Zach’s home games at Albion, too.”
Although he is 100 percent basketball now, Reg didn’t play the sport in high school at Detroit Cass Tech.
“I didn’t play basketball – played quarterback and tight end at Cass Tech, graduated there in 1986,” said Reg.
Reg got involved in basketball when Cassius started playing in kindergarten, and now Cassius is the Big Ten Player of the Year.
“My wife and I were talking about that the other day and how surreal it is,” Reg said. “We were happy when we found out that he was going to get his college paid for. All the stuff that’s going on right now, it’s crazy. I’m loving it. Cassius deserves it. He’s put in the work.”
Reg, who works in the recreation department for the city of Detroit, has tremendous respect for U-D Jesuit coach Pat Donnelly, and the feeling is mutual.
“I’ve learned a lot from Pat and love working with our staff,” he said. “Pat has extensive coaching experience. What the kids don’t realize is why you’re screaming and yelling at them, but when they go off to college they’ll have a real good foundation because of the things he’s taught them.”
Said Donnelly: “Reg does a phenomenal job with skill development. He is the calming influence – until you tick him off with a lack of effort. He’s quiet, prefers to interact individually, but when he does address the team, it has a great impact. Reg is a great motivator, always encouraging guys to believe they can accomplish anything they want to work for in life.
“He has been a great sounding board for me. I value his opinion greatly and bounce lots of ideas off of him. Reg Winston is a blessing to this program, and his family has had a tremendous impact on the U-D Jesuit community.”