San Antonio – After 27 years of coaching, Ronald Reagan boys’ head basketball coach, John Hirst, eclipsed the 400-win mark December 28 in Austin.
“It never really occurred to me that I’d be doing this long enough or well enough to be lucky enough to get 400,” Hirst said. “It’s a time to reflect on, you know, people who’ve had an impact on your life and in your career. And you think about all of the great players we’ve had, all of the great assistant coaches that we’ve had and you think about really how lucky and fortunate we are.”
Win 400 came after the Rattlers defeated Pflugerville Weiss, 50-35, as a part of the 620 Shootout hosted by Cedar Park High School with Hirst’s family in attendance to witness the milestone. Hirst was also able to secure the win while his son Jacob, a senior power forward, was on the Rattlers roster.
“He’s a great coach and I want to be like my dad,” Hirst said. “I want to work like he works. I just know from personal experience of like all the investment, time, effort he’s put in to his job just to see it pay off in something like that has just been awesome for me to see.”
Hirst has been the head coach at Reagan since 2010 and previously held the same position at Stevens and Los Fresnos High Schools. After nearly three decades coaching, Hirst says the most important accomplishment in his career has been using basketball as a vehicle to teach his players to become responsible adults.
As an assistant under Hirst for 13 years, J.J. Anguiano can speak to Hirst’s coaching philosophy firsthand.
“He always tells our kids from day one if all you remember from our program is how to run an out of bounds play or certain type of defense, then we’ve failed you as your coaches,” Anguiano said.
Will Carsten, a senior center, seconds that life lessons have been a consistent component of Hirst’s teachings.
“Like one of his everyday mottos is when we leave here, if the only thing that we’ve learned how to do is play basketball, then he’s failed as a coach and I really appreciate that because his overall goal is to help us become young men and be great husbands and just overall great people,” he said.
Hirst’s current win total sits at 403 and although the victories have been a nice accolade, it’s the building of relationships and development of his players – on and off the court – that has mattered most to Hirst.
“If we can win some games along the way even better because obviously, you’re a competitor and you want to win, but hopefully we got a small part in helping guys understand there’s a little bit more out there then just basketball,” he said.
The Rattlers are currently 15-8 and 3-2 in district action. They face off against MacArthur Tuesday.