Glendale Community College’s Reid enjoys homecoming victory

Former Glendale Community College player Andy Reid, now head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, enjoyed a homecoming as his squad remained unbeaten by defeating the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-10, at Carson’s StubHub Center on Sunday.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

CARSON — Few Glendale Community College products have enjoyed as prolific a professional sports career as has Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

Yet, with a trophy case full of accolades and a resume that has taken him to colorful locales such as Provo, Utah, El Paso, Texas and Green Bay, Wis., Reid accomplished a rare first Sunday.

The veteran, who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at alma mater Brigham Young University in 1982, picked up his first victory as an NFL coach – assistant or head – in the Los Angeles area.

Reid’s Chiefs defeated the now hometown Los Angeles Chargers, 24-10, in an AFC West clash at Carson’s StubHub Center to improve to 3-0 and bolster a belief that Kansas City is bona fide Super Bowl contender.

Such victories can elicit a variety of responses, ranging from pride to indifference.

For the even-keel Reid, whose late son Garrett also played at GCC, victory No. 176 in his 18-plus year NFL head-coaching career brought about mild response.

“All in all, we had a good game,” said Reid, who was more focused on his team’s three interceptions in the win than on any homecoming. “The turnovers obviously on their side allowed us to get some early scores. I thought our defense played well. They came up big.”

Of course, the answer did not surprise Glendale Community College athletic director John Cicuto.

The Vaqueros football icon began his coaching career as Glendale’s defensive coordinator in 1975 under head coach Jim Sartoris. Cicuto eventually became the head coach in 1989 and athletic director in 2007.

“You watch his press conferences, it’s just amazing how precise he is and to the point,” Cicuto said. “He never throws players under the bus or coaches. He’s always, always positive.”

Reid came to Glendale in 1976 after graduating from Los Angeles John Marshall High and stayed for the 1977 season.

In two campaigns, Reid played guard and tackle and even took on place-kicking duties for the Vaqueros, while he earned all-conference second-team honors in 1977.

That season, Glendale advanced to its first bowl game in 14 years, losing the Mission Bowl to Saddleback, 44-22.

Shortly after, Reid moved on to BYU and eventually started his coaching career in 1982.

When asked if he spotted greatness back then, Cicuto chuckled.

“When Andy was here,” Cicuto said, “I really didn’t even think he was going to go into coaching.”

Even so, the young Reid had a backer and a fan for life.

“I believe I have his first coaching business card with San Francisco State,” Cicuto said, while searching through his office at GCC looking for the prize. “I’ve been an Andy Reid fan since.”

The friendship and fandom progressed when, in 2001, Reid invited Cicuto to take in the Army-Navy game on a Saturday followed by a Philadelphia Eagles game at Veterans Stadium the next day. At that time, Reid was in third season as Philadelphia head coach, a position he held for 13 seasons.

Cicuto continued visiting Reid at spring mini-camps in Philadelphia until 2006.

Reid’s relationship with Glendale Community College, though, didn’t just flow eastward.

When the athletic office, run by Sartoris in 2005, needed funds to refurbish the stadium’s scoreboard, Reid quietly donated $75,000 to the cause.

Sports information director Alex Leon believes that Reid has donated around $100,000 to GCC.

Reid was inducted into the school’s second hall of fame class in 2003 and gave a surprise video speech when Cicuto entered in 2014.

“We text each other once a week. I’ll text him, he’ll text me back right away,” Cicuto said. “That’s what’s so unique about him. I’ll text him right after an away game and he’ll text me back an hour later. He’s such a special guy.”

For over a decade, Cicuto sported a green Philadelphia Eagles hat. For the last four years, though, he’s donned a red cap emblazoned with a Kansas City’s Chiefs’ tomahawk.

“People will tell me that I switched teams, that I’ve been an Eagles fan and now I’m a Chiefs’ fan,” Cicuto said. “No, that’s not right. I’ve always been an Andy Reid fan.”

Twitter @campadresports