Charlie Reeve had never heard of Poplarville, Miss., and couldn’t find it on a map.
But Reeve wanted to continue to play college football and Pearl River Community College provided the best opportunity.
“I wound up going site unseen,” he said. “It ended being a great decision for me. It was a great experience. I made a lot of good friends and relationships that carry on today. It kind of shaped me into who I am today.”
After playing for his father, Mark, at Victoria High, Reeve was set to begin his college career at Nicholls State.
But when the team went to an option offense after a coaching change, Reeve knew he had to find another place to play.
He went to Abilene Christian University and another coaching change led him to transfer again a season later.
Texas junior colleges did not allow transfers from four-year schools at the time, and Reeve originally committed to Hinds Community College in Mississippi.
But he changed his mind when Scott Maxfield became the head coach at Pearl River and installed his “Air Raid” offense.
The decision proved to a fortuitous one for Reeve, who not only helped turn around the program that had won five games just once in the five years prior to 2001, but put together one of the most impressive statistical seasons in Pearl River history.
Reeve passed for 2,553 yards and 25 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while leading the Wildcats to a 7-2 record.
He completed 61 percent of his passes and led the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges with a 141 passer efficiency rating and became the third player in school history to earn All-American status.
“Some of the best athletes I’ve ever been around were in that Mississippi JC league,” Reeve said. “They call the Mississippi junior college league ‘the little SEC.’ When I went to Texas State after Pearl River, in a lot of ways the game slowed down a little bit. That whole league is filled with SEC transfers, bounce backs and placements. From a competition level, it was really, really good.”
Reeve transferred to Texas State after his record-setting year, and an injury ended his playing career.
But the 39-year-old Reeve will have a chance to relive some memories when he returns to Poplarville on Oct. 12 to be inducted into the Pearl River Sports Hall of Fame.
“I think the thing that stands out the most is beginning to turn the program around,” he said. “They had been down for a while and that’s when coach Maxfield came in. This is right when the whole ‘Air Raid’ offense came in and we were throwing it around 30-40 times a game, which was unheard of at the time.”
Reeve became a student assistant coach at Texas State after his injury and that started him on a path that has included coaching positions on the high school and college level.
“Football is football,” Reeve said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing at Pearl River or Texas State. It’s kind of the same thing with coaching. It doesn’t matter if it’s junior high football at Cuero or a GSA. Where I do it hasn’t been that big of a deal.”
Reeve treasures the year he spent at Cuero, where he got the chance to coach with his father and brother, Travis. He also enjoyed coaching at Houston Baptist University, where he recruited quarterback Bailey Zappe from Victoria East.
But Reeve and his wife, Courtney, have three sons – Ryder, Bear and Jase – and he’s back on the high school level in his second season as the offensive coordinator at Katy Seven Lakes.
“I kind of made that decision when I left HBU,” Reeve said. “We have three boys who are starting to get older. I always knew I had to make that decision at some point. It was time.”