While further accolades may come later for Paul Gray, The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) announced last week it will be inducting Paul Kautz into its Hall of Fame.
"I got a call about a week ago and was informed of the NIAA's decision," Kautz said. "I was certainly very honored and surprised. I did not know I'd been nominated. I did find out a couple days later a campaign for me had been started by a couple good friends of mine,
"I'm very honored to have been selected. I never really thought about it that much. I've gone to luncheons and seen other coaches, athletes, administrators and officials get inducted. I guess as time goes by everybody thinks you've done a good job and a few started the ball rolling."
Kautz was being humble and modest. He took on the challenge of opening a new school and starting a new program, accepting the position as Reed's first varsity boys hoops coach when the east Sparks school opened its doors for the 1974-75 school year. He stepped down following the 1988-89 school year after racking up 216 career wins against 115 losses. His RHS teams won a pair of regional titles during his tenure and three times Kautz was voted regional coach of the year by his peers.
"You just try to do the best job you can," Kautz said. "You feel great in that kind of a position to be the coach of young men like that. I had great players at Reed and had a great coaching staff ... I definitely felt the coaches I had working with me in the program were instrumental in the success we did have. We always tried to do our best for the kids we coached."
The NIAA, which governs high school athletics in the Silver State, will induct 14 northern Nevadans into its Hall of Fame during its 22nd annual ceremony, scheduled for March 27 at the Peppermill in Reno.
A campaign for Kautz's induction was spearheaded by a long-time friend of the veteran Raiders coach, Chuck Siddall.
"I've known Paul for quite some time," Siddall said. "We've gotten to play a lot of golf together and our friendship has blossomed. A couple of years ago we went to the state basketball tournament together, and there, the NIAA announced its inductees for that year. I thought to myself 'I'm sure those are deserving people, but so is Paul.' I thought 'I need to do something about that.'"
Siddall did indeed do something about it. He reached out to the NIAA to find out the process for getting someone nominated and the he reached out to colleagues and friends of Kautz in an effort to complete the nomination packet.
"Chuck made some contacts and I talked to some people as well," said Tim Griffin, who coached against Kautz while working at Sparks High, before eventually taking over as Reed principal (1992-2000). "We got about three or four guys to write letters in support of Paul. Chuck got a real nice packet put together and of course Paul was selected ... I was coaching at Sparks when Reed opened and Paul was coaching there. They took a lot of our players. Paul's kids were always well disciplined and they played hard. You always knew when you played Paul's Reed teams you were in for a battle."
Dudley Cate was the principal at Reed (1982-92) during the peak of Kautz's coaching career. He can be counted among the supporters who believe Kautz's Hall of Fame honor is well deserved.
"Paul Kautz, in my estimation, is one of the finest coaches to ever coach in Nevada," Cate said. "I was always totally impressed with his teams and his kids."
After stepping down from coaching the Reed varsity club in 1989, Kautz took a few years off but the coaching itch didn't go away. He eventually returned and coached the Raiders' freshman or junior varsity teams for 13 more seasons under Gray.
Current Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall played for Kautz on the RHS Freshman team during the 1998-99 season.
"Coach Kautz was awesome. He was super intense, very passionate, and then practices, every one, was tough," Hall said. "He paid attention to detail and you had to do all the little things right. He was an awesome coach. We all loved playing for Coach Kautz.
"Coach Kautz is a Hall of Famer now and Coach Gray could be eventually. To be able to play for both of those guys was amazing. This is just good company to be in."
Kautz remembers his coaching days fondly, but the relationships with his athletes are what mattered the most.
"I just enjoyed working with the kids," Kautz said. "After I got out of coaching varsity, I worked with the younger kids. I wanted to get them started in right direction. I wanted them to be decent young men with good basketball fundamentals. I just had a lot of fun coaching. I felt very privileged to be in program."