When Rob Reese accepted the head coaching position with the Issaquah Eagles baseball program in 1994, Bill Clinton was in his first term as President of the United States of America.
Reese, who has led the Eagles for the past 25 seasons on the diamond, attained his 400th career victory at Issaquah during the 2018 season courtesy of a 4-2 triumph against the rival Skyline Spartans in a winner-to-state, loser-out playoff game on May 11. The victory is something Reese will cherish for the long haul.
“That was probably one of the best games to do it in (400th win milestone) obviously other than winning state championship. Winning that Skyline game and making it to state (tournament) was cool to have it happen in a big game like that,” Reese explained.
Reese, whose lived in Issaquah and Bellevue since the mid-1990s, is fully entrenched in the Eastside community.
“It is such an awesome community for sports and baseball. Issaquah High School is such a great place to coach. Our athletic director is such a great supporter of our coaches and players. Our administrators have always been pro-sports and not every school is like that. They got our backs,” Reese said with pride.
Reese doesn’t plan on leaving the dugout in the immediate future.
“Obviously I think I am getting closer to the end than obviously the start. My son Tyler (who will graduate from Issaquah in 2020) a has a few more years left and I will be here through that. My wife (Tami) just retired from coaching after 20 years with the Ballard volleyball program as well,” Reese said. “We will see how it goes for her how she takes to not coaching and being involved. We’ll see what happens,” Reese said of his long-term future.
Reese, who is known for his outgoing, gregarious persona, said he hasn’t changed his signs much in the 25 years of patrolling the dugout and the coach’s box on the third base line. The small nuances of how he disguises signs is something that makes him unique.
“Basically we’ve had the same signs for 25 years. Our players are smart enough to change the signs every year but I am not, I guess,” Reese said with a chuckle. “We don’t change signs but we might change when something is on or when it’s off. If I’m standing in the coaches box or out of the coaches box, things can mean something different. We got them (players) dialed in. We will change things based on where I’m standing or if I clap or don’t clap. Other teams might think they have our steal sign, but if I don’t clap, we don’t steal and they end up pitching out. We like to mix things up.”
Recently the Issaquah Reporter had an opportunity to ask Reese questions about his life away from the baseball diamond.
Issaquah Reporter: What is your favorite restaurant in Issaquah?
Rob Reese: Coho Cafe.
IR: What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
RR: The last movie I saw was “Monsters, Inc.” The first one with my two kids. It has been a real long time since I have been to a movie. (“Monsters, Inc.” was released in 2001).
IR: Who was your idol growing up?
RR: The Seattle SuperSonics (NBA team) were around. I would say Spencer Haywood. We always had season tickets growing up.
IR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?
RR: Lou Piniella (former Seattle Mariners manager). He is a manager and is very fiery. It would be pretty cool to sit down with him and talk baseball.
IR: What is your favorite hobby away from baseball?
RR: Watching my wife coach volleyball or watching my kids play sports. We’re a big sports family. We love sports. We encouraged our kids to play sports.
IR: What is your dream vacation spot?
RR: We go to Disneyland every year. We’ve done it since our kids have been born. We have gone 20 straight years. We go there every year so it has to be our dream spot!