For the first time since 1994, the head coach of the Hillsboro High School football team will be someone who didn’t go to the big brick building on the hill. But that doesn’t mean that the Toppers’ new man in charge isn’t in it for the long haul.
“A goal of mine has been to be a head football coach and have a program of my own. I’ve just been waiting for the right opportunity,” said Joe Reed, who was hired during the Hillsboro School Board meeting on June 15. “Really, it was family driven. I have young kids and I don’t want to wait too long and move them when they’re older. My wife has family in the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area. That was another huge factor that came into play.”
A Carthage High School grad, Reed went to Illinois College and made a stop in Camp Point Central after graduation, where he worked with his dad, Bill Reed.
“Right out of college I got a job at Auburn with Coach Bates and I was going to teach PE there. Then in July, my dad had become principal at Camp Point and he calls me with a junior high teaching position,” Reed explained. “He lost a coach so he needed me to call the offense with him. So I actually got to coach with him in Camp Point. All joking aside, he’s the best coach I know.”
Reed said he expects his father, who was an assistant coach at Carthage when Reed was there, to help out with the program at Hillsboro (“like I have a choice,” he joked). The Reed family coaching tree also expands to Joe’s brother Zach, who was an assistant at Athens, where Joe Reed was for the last 12 years.
The offensive coordinator under Head Coach Ryan Knox, the Warriors haven’t missed the playoffs since 2009 and made it to the semifinals in 2019 and 2017.
Fans can expect to see a similar style of offense in Hillsboro, due in part to the limited time Reed has before football starts in August.
“I think I’m going to have 16 days with these kids before August gets here, so I’m going to coach what I’m most familiar with,” Reed said. “I called the offense (in Athens) for 12 years and that’s the style we’ve had success with and I enjoy calling.”
In addition to acclimating himself with his new players, Reed also has to adjust to a new community with his family, wife Hannah and children Louden (8), Mila (5) and Betsy (3).
“This was a spot that I liked and a really neat town,” Reed said. “It’s got some tradition and some great coaches in its history. I thought why not, and here I am.”
And the Topper faithful are hoping that Reed will add to that tradition and provide a spark to the program.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get this part over with and get into the football, said Reed, who spent much of Wednesday on the phone with media and well-wishers after his hiring. “That’s what I’m comfortable with and I can’t wait to get started with the kids.”