In the last several days, Chris Ramirez frequently visited the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ website, hoping to see if the organization had posted its “Player of the Year” awards for 2019.
The Our Lady of the Hills’ athletic director admits he was nervous. One of his players, Travis Reeh, was in contention for player of the year in the small private school division. He knew Reeh had the credentials — impressive stats, two state titles and an established history of playing at a high level — to win the award. But he also knew that his senior guard was competing against several qualified candidates.
So, it’s easy to imagine his reaction when he checked the site Monday morning, noticed the TABC had posted the awards and immediately spotted Reeh’s name among the “Player of the Year” recipients for 2019. Three weeks after Ramirez was one of 12 coaches in Texas to receive “Coach of the Year” honors, Reeh was one of the eight players in the state to win “Player of the Year.” Both will be honored at the TABC banquet on May 16.
“When I saw (he had won), I was certainly thrilled for him, excited for him and proud of him,” Ramirez said. “I am super proud of him.
Unfortunately, Ramirez couldn’t personally deliver the news to Reeh, who was at the TAPPS state golf tournament in Killeen, so he sent a congratulatory text to Reeh and his mother Tracie Reeh. Travis read the message while putting on the 15th hole. Needless to say, discovering he was the 2019 player of the year bolstered his performance on the final three holes.
“I played really well after that text,” beamed Travis, (who finished with a score of 97 on Monday). “When coach (Ramirez) won the ‘Coach of the year Award’ for the second time, I thought, ‘Man, it would be really cool if I won that player of the year award.’ That way we would both receive awards at the TABC banquet. That would be a pretty surreal moment for me.
“That was the first time I really thought, “Man, that’s something I really wanted to accomplish.”
In an exactly a month, that surreal moment will come to fruition. The two have known each other for a long time. Ramirez first coached Reeh’s select travel teams when the latter was in third grade. Seven year later, Reeh arrived at OLH to play for Ramirez. Reeh credits Ramirez for inspiring him to play his best basketball. Ramirez, in turn, witnessed countless masterful performances from Reeh on the hardwood. Reeh helped lead the Hawks to three straight appearances in the state title, and led the team in scoring for three straight seasons. This season, he averaged 27 points per game and helped the Hawks win their second state title. Moments after OLH’s 50-47 win over Midland Classical Academy in the TAPPS Class 3A state championship, Reeh searched for his coach and embraced him.
And on May 16, they will experience one more special moment together.
“Our journey goes back further than OLH, but what he has been at OLH has been the epitome of a program player,” Ramirez said. “He has exceptional work ethic. He puts in the work before school, and after school each other. His credentials speak for himself. … He has played at the highest level; he has competed at the highest level and he’s going to be the benchmark of what we strive to have in a player. It’s going to be hard to replace Travis Reeh. That’s for sure.
“We have been on many basketball courts during our time together. … It’s been a great journey.”