FHSU women’s soccer coach quits over family reasons

By Randy Gonzales/Hays Daily News

Ultimately, family came first for Blake Reynolds.

Fort Hays State University on Monday announced Reynolds’ resignation as the school’s women’s soccer coach. Reynolds, the program’s head coach for five years, went 39-27-11 in four seasons.

Reynolds and his wife, Jen, have a two-year-old daughter, Brielle. After his birth, Reynolds’ priorities changed. Before, his career was at the center of his concerns. But since …

“The main reason I walk away is because my life changed two years ago when my daughter was born,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds has already bought a house in Tempe, Arizona, and his family plans to leave Hays by the end of the week. Eventually, Reynolds’ parents and his wife’s parents will also move to Arizona, he said.

Reynolds, 41, isn’t sure what he’s going to do next. He will spend some time thinking about his options. His wife is an operations officer for a software company.

“I’m lucky my wife has a great job,” Reynolds said. “We are transitioning there to be closer to family.

“What I’m going to do there, I’m not sure,” he added. “I want to take some time to figure out what I want to do.”

Reynolds has a college career record of 141-69-30 in 12 seasons over 13 years. He replaced Craig Shaw as Tigers coach after the 2016 season.

A freshman win over a ranked Missouri Western team on his birthday was a highlight, Reynolds said. A playoff game was also memorable in its sophomore year when FHSU defeated Missouri Southern after 13 rounds of penalty shootout.

Coaching in NCAA Division II was a goal for Reynolds, and getting into the MIAA was a challenge.

“For me, competing in the MIAA was just great,” Reynolds said. “It was great fun to compete every weekend.

“I always dreamed of being at this level,” he added. “It was really cool to get here.”

A disappointment for Reynolds was the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

“The COVID year was the team I had built,” Reynolds said. “I had been waiting for four years. We were robbed this year. It really crushed me.

Reynolds said the people he met at FHSU are what he will remember most.

“It always starts with people,” he said. “I will miss every day of going to the office, having these conversations.”

The Tigers, who have never had a losing season under Reynolds, finished 8-8-3 in his senior year. Reynolds said the next coach, the third in school history, should have a solid foundation to build on.

“I feel really good in the band I’m leaving,” Reynolds said. “We have a terrific returning core.”

Reynolds told his players at a team meeting last week that he was quitting.

“Twenty-five young women trusted you,” Reynolds said. “It’s hard to leave.”

FHSU athletic director Curtis Hammeke thanked Reynolds in a statement. FHSU has begun its search for a new coach.

“Blake has done a great job running our women’s soccer program for the past five years,” Hammeke said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavours.”

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