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    Servite football coach Chris Reinert values the lessons from challenging end with Colorado Buffaloes
    • October 26, 2023

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    It was early October of last year. Servite football coach Chris Reinert still remembers the day.

    He was in his third season coaching under Karl Dorrell at the University of Colorado. The Buffaloes were 0-5, with most of the losses via blowout.

    Reinert’s wife was pregnant with a second child when an announcement from the university arrived liked a pounding at the front door. Dorrell was fired, along with defensive coordinator Chris Wilson.

    “They basically tasked the remaining coaches and assistants with, ‘Hey, be a pro and hold this thing together for the final (seven games),’ ” Reinert recalled.

    And so began an important learning experience for Reinert, who has used those lessons to lead a major turnaround in his first season at Servite, his alma mater.

    The Friars enter their Trinity League finale Friday against JSerra with a 5-4 overall record, which at minimum makes them a likely at-large selection for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

    Servite is 10th in Calpreps’ ratings for the section just one season after a 1-9 finish, the worst in school history. Highly-successful coach Troy Thomas and the school “parted ways” about two weeks after the 2022 campaign, setting the stage for Reinert’s hiring in December.

    Last week, Servite knocked off Santa Margarita 50-42 to snap a 10-game losing streak in the Trinity League.

    Friars quarterback Leo Hannan has dubbed the season “a revenge tour” after their struggles last fall.

    “These teams whooped on us last year,” he said. “That chip on our shoulder drives us.”

    Reinert has credited Thomas for the players he helped develop. The Friars feature several strong juniors, including Hannan, running back Quaid Carr and sophomores to watch such as Devan Parker, Saxon Churchwell, Tristin Ordaz and Brando Mosqueda.

    But Reinert’s experiences at Colorado have served him well. He coached as the special team coordinator under interim coach Mike Sanford Jr., who played at Los Alamitos.

    “Those last (several) weeks were probably the most impactful for me as far as being a head coach,” Reinert said. “The way Mike Sanford handled his business and the way he approached (adversity).”

    “The kids had fun,” he added, “and believed that they could win even though we didn’t. But it was an enjoyable experience despite the circumstances.”

    Things are now different at Colorado. Coach Deion Sanders, or Coach Prime as he is known, transformed the roster through the transfer portal and has the Buffaloes off a 4-3 record going into their clash with UCLA on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

    Reinert has marveled at Colorado’s success but empathizes with his former players. It’s relationships that mean the most to him, especially his formative ones at Servite.

    “I love what Servite did for me, for my family, for my brother,” he said. “Seven of my eight groomsmen where Servite guys, and the eighth one says he was but he went to Brea Olinda. Those guys are at every game (now) on the sideline.”

    “The most important thing for me is to give (our players) an experience kind of like what I got,” Reinert added. “(The school) was challenging but you learn how to survive through adverse situations and thrive and grow.”

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    ​ Orange County Register