But sadly, the Rail City will likely have to give him up in the coming years.
Gray, who was at Reed High for 23 years as a math teacher and then the Dean of Students for the freshman class, is now in his second year as the Dean of Students at Dilworth Middle School.
“I like the smaller environment and the kids. The faculty is awesome. The administration is great,” Gray said. “They’ve made it very comfortable for me here. It’s nice being in a smaller environment, so you get to know the kids a little bit better.”
Gray is eligible to retire after next school year, and currently that is the direction he is looking. His wife had been a principal and vice principal at Dilworth before retiring as the principal at Clayton Middle School.
Both of his sons live in the Phoenix area, and his youngest son is married and the couple has a daughter who is 19 months old. Gray hopes he and his wife can be more involved in their granddaughter’s life and help their son and daughter-in-law once he retires.
“It’s an exciting new chapter in our life that we’re looking toward. We haven’t set anything in concrete yet, but that’s kind of the direction we’re looking,” Gray said.
Still, Gray will be missed.
Gray coached the Reed boys basketball squad for 18 years, leading the Blue and Gold to the state tournament in eight of his first 11 seasons on the sidelines. When he took a job as an administrator, he no longer had time to coach.
“There are a lot of things about it that I do miss. Obviously, you miss being around the kids,” Gray said. “I miss practices and the competitions. I think the time commitment on a yearly basis is something I don’t miss. I was able to spend time in Arizona over Christmas break, and that’s something I could never have done if I was coaching. The days we had off were the days around Christmas and we had New Year’s off. That was my winter break time.
“There were many times when I was coaching that I would be shopping a day or two in advance of Christmas. Maybe I procrastinated, but after spending a day in the classroom and a few hours at practice and getting ready for practice and evaluating practices, and then preparing for games, it made it really hard to get things done. There are a lot of things I do miss about it, but there will always be that trade off.”
Gray hung up his clipboard following the 2007-08 season at the age of 50, closing out his coaching career with seven straight playoff appearances. Reed also won the Northern regional crown in 1990, 1994 and 2004.
He handed over the reins to 2002 Reed graduate Dustin Hall, an assistant on Gray’s staff, who played under Gray.
While Gray loves his current job at Dilworth and hopes that’s where he will finish his career, it has taken Gray away from Reed and the school where he spent the bulk of his adult years.
Gray admittedly wished he could get out to more games to see Hall and other former players.
“I really do it enjoy it here. I’ve become a little disconnected from Reed. I haven’t even been to a basketball game this year. I’m almost embarrassed to say that,” Gray said Tuesday before going to North Valleys to see Reed knock off the Panthers that night. “Dustin Hall is an outstanding person and a great coach. I haven’t seen a whole lot of games Dustin’s teams have played. Now, I have (former player) Matt Ochs, who is coaching at Reno.
“When they played each other in December, we had seventh and eight grade girls games here at Dilworth. By the time everyone was off campus and making sure everybody had rides home and doing the games’ supervision, there really wasn’t an opportunity to go over to the game. That was a game I would have liked to have gone to, but I’m kind of moving in a different direction in my life. I wish those people well. They’re really good people.”