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*The birth of Wayne Reese is celebrated on this date in 1945. He was a Black high school counselor and football coach.
Reese was a native of Vidalia, Louisiana. He moved to New Orleans in his early years with his parents, the late Alfred and Florida Reese, Sr., and his seven siblings. He attended Carter G. Woodson Middle School. It was at Woodson Middle School that he would develop his love for football. Spotted playing in the marching band by Coach Winston Burns Sr. and Coach Ronald Stuart, Wayne Reese was then convinced to try his hand at football. Not overly enthusiastic by the thought of being tackled by a group of aggressive young men, he soon discovered he had a talent for dodging tackles and excelled as a halfback.
He completed his education at Xavier University Preparatory High School, where he met his wife of forty-seven years, Mrs. Stella Chase Reese. He was a record-setting student-athlete at Prep. In September 2006, the Clarion Herald article "Gormley Stadium has enjoyed decades of great events" the 1964 highlight read, "Behind the running of halfback Wayne Reese, Xavier Prep defeats St. Augustine, 14-13 to win the LIALO City Championship…." Wayne Reese received a full athletic scholarship to Tennessee State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health in 1970. While at Tennessee State University, Wayne Reese served as captain of the football team for two years, was named to the All-American Team, led the Tiger football team in scores, and was a member of the 1967 undefeated Tennessee State football team.
He married Stella Chase Reese in 1973. Coach Reese began his football coaching career as an assistant coach at John McDonogh Sr. High School alongside the side of Coach Willie McKee his former high school football coach at Xavier Prep. He has since served as the Head Football Coach at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, George Washington Carver Senior High School, and Washington Marion Senior High School. He was the current Head Coach at McDonogh 35, where he has led his team to the playoffs every year since 2002. This fall would have marked Coach Reese's 18th year at McDonogh 35 and his 50th year as a football coach.
During his coaching tenure, Coach Reese received the Eddie Robinson Award, was a frequent guest of the Ken Trahan Show, and has been recognized by Times-Picayune, WWL TV and Radio, WDSU, the New Orleans Saints Football Organization, the Quarterback's Club for his outstanding contribution to the career of coaching on and off the field. Most recently, he has been acknowledged as only the 24th Head Football Coach in Louisiana to accomplish 250 wins. Coach Reese has sent hundreds of student-athletes to college on athletic and academic scholarships, coached one NFL Hall of Famer, Marshall Faulk, and dozens of current and former NFL players.
Wayne Reese Sr., a beloved and heralded member of our community, passed away on April 2, 2020, of covid-19. Reese is preceded in death by his parents, Alfred Reese and Florida Woodard Reese, his sister Florida Reese Wyatt, and brothers, Alfred Reese and Emmanuel Reese. He left his wife of 47 years, Stella Chase Reese, and his four children, Kimberly Marie Reese, Wayne Marshall Reese Jr., Myla Reese Poree (Albert Poree), and Alfred Anthony Reese.