TWIN FALLS −The College of Southern Idaho has found its new men’s basketball coach.
The Golden Eagles introduced Jeff Reinert as the program’s 18th head coach at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the campus’ Taylor Building.
Reinert most recently coached at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in California, though he has been a college head and assistant coach as well. He resigned from his position at Santa Margarita on May 16 in preparation for taking the CSI job.
Reinert commanded a strong program with plenty of tradition in his last job. His teams at Santa Margarita qualified for the playoffs in six of his seven seasons there and won the CIF-Southern Division 1 this season. They played a national schedule, the third-toughest slate in the country and won a state championship in CIF-SS 3AA in 2014.
“If you would have told me a month ago that I would have been standing here, I would have thought you were crazy,” Reinert said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We just endured a fantastic season in high school basketball in Southern California, and it is a very challenging high school environment. It brings out the best in you or it brings out the worst in you.”
Santa Margarita has produced several successful players, including NBA star Klay Thompson, who graduated in 2008. Reinert took the job in 2012.
His collegiate coaching stops included assistant positions at Simpson, Nebraska, BYU, Oregon State and Fresno State.
He was the head coach at Utah Valley, then a junior college in Orem, Utah, from 1994 to 2002. Reinert was 179-77 over that stint. The Wolverines made the jump to Division I in 2009.
Reinert’s teams at Utah Valley played against CSI several times back then. He joked that he didn’t pay much attention to the town of Twin Falls when he came through, that he only came in, took a butt-kicking from the Golden Eagles, then hit the road.
But he and his wife Trish, who was also present Tuesday, liked what they saw from the community when they took a fresh look, and the fit was right.
Reinert said family played a large role in the decision, and that approach extends to the program he’s about to take over.
“For me, family is everything,” he said. “The way I treat my team, the way I treat my assistants, everybody I work with, if it’s going to be at CSI, it’s family.”
He has a daughter, Gretchen, who graduated from Santa Margarita and plays college volleyball at Santa Clara.
On the court, he said he’s going to push the Golden Eagles to be the top rebounding team in the nation. There’s also going to be an element of toughness.
“We’re going to be people who dive on the floor and take charges,” he said.
The players he plans on recruiting will have to have the right mindset, too.
“This is a special place, and for you to play here, you need to be a special person. I don’t want entitled young men here. I want people that are thankful to be here, and those are the kind of young men that I’m going to recruit,” Reinert said.
He also said Tuesday that he hasn’t yet evaluated which staff or players to retain or watched any film from last season. He wants to approach everything with a clean slate.
But he added that it’s likely he’ll be bringing back key pieces from last year’s team that went 24-8.
“It’s not broken, let’s put it that way,” he said. “I want to build on whatever momentum was going.”
He played collegiately at New Mexico and Gonzaga. He was a teammate with NBA great John Stockton while with the Bulldogs and played one season of professional basketball in Australia.
Reinert, 57, replaces Jared Phay, who resigned on May 1 to take an assistant coaching job at Idaho State.