Jeff Reinland and Reese Radliff go way back as rival sharpshooters during their college basketball playing days in the early 1980s.
Reinland, who hails from Pomeroy, played two years at Walla Walla Community College and then transferred to Eastern Washington University. Radliff grew up in Enumclaw, began his college career at Highline CC and finished up at Central Washington.
They first played against each other on opposing high-school all-star teams at the conclusion of their senior seasons. They faced each other once each season during their community college careers and twice each year at the four-year level.
“We had quite a rivalry back in the day,” Reinland chuckled. “And in the years since, we’ve always greeted each other by asking how the second-best shooter in the state was doing.
“Reece was a great, great player,” Reinland added. “One of the best I’ve ever played against. I tell him that he might have been a better player than me, but I was the better shooter.”
Radliff, who lives in Richland and has sent all three of his sons — Dylan, Payton and Landon — to WWCC to play for Reinland, begs to differ.
“When Jeff asks me about the second-best shooter, I tell him he sees him every morning when he looks in the mirror,” Radliff joked.
All kidding aside, Radliff is pleased that his sons decided to attend WWCC and play for Reinland.
“I followed Jeff, knew who he was and where he was at,” Radliff said. “And I knew he was a good person.
“When Dylan was playing in high school, Jeff was interested and told me that he had never gotten a kid out of the Tri-Cities to go to Walla Walla. There was no interest from Columbia Basin or anyone closer and I had no problem encouraging him to go in that direction.”
Dylan, after completing his collegiate playing career, first at Central Washington University and then at Eastern Oregon University, is now one of Reinland’s assistant coaches.
“Jeff has really opened Dylan’s eyes to coaching,” Radliff said. “And he is a big reason why Payton and Landon both wound up at Walla Walla.”
Reinland is known to be a firebrand when it comes to coaching style. But his fiery decorum on the bench doesn’t phase Radliff in the least.
“If a coach is yelling at you, at least you are on the court playing,” Radliff said. “You would rather have him yelling at you than not yelling at you sitting on the bench. You can’t listen to how they say things but listen to what the message is.
“Jeff is totally different off the court,” Radliff added. “He’s fun to be around and all the kids have the greatest respect for him. But on the bench he is just ready to explode.
“You can tell because he’s losing his hair and I still have mine.”