Howard Herman: Catching up with former UMass football coach Jim Reid before BC plays in the Pinstripe Bowl

It's about 90 miles from Amherst to Chestnut Hill. Jim Reid's trip from the University of Massachusetts to Boston College wasn't quite that short.

Reid, who is in his second season as the defensive coordinator at Boston College, could be the poster boy for that old Johnny Cash song "I've Been Everywhere."

Reid has been to Amherst, Richmond, Chestnut Hill, Richmond, Syracuse, Lewisburg, Pa., Lexington, Va., Miami, Charlottesville, Va., Iowa City, Iowa and Chestnut Hill.

And after all that, this fall marked the first time he had actually coached against the son of a former player.

"Let me tell you something, let's get off that subject," Reid said with a laugh. "It might be exposing my age."

The player is Wake Forest offensive tackle Jake Benzinger, whose father John played for Reid when he was defensive coordinator at UMass in 1984 and 85, and one year when Reid took over for Bob Stull after Stull left for Texas-El Paso.

Wake Forest beat BC 34-10 in Chestnut Hill back in September. Jake Benzinger was the starting right tackle on that team.

Reid appeared on a conference call to help publicize Wednesday's Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Reid, who is currently the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for Steve Adazzio at BC, will bring the Eagles to The Bronx to play Iowa, a team Reid was an assistant at from 2013-15.

"There's more and more of these guys coming up," Reid said. "They'd say 'You know my father, or my grandfather.' "

Reid and I go back together to his early UMass days. I broadcast UMass football for four seasons, and he was the defensive coordinator through that time, both for Stull and for the late Bob Pickett.

He is also connected to local coaches like Joe Doyle, also a UMass grad.

I asked Reid to reflect on his journey, and the former UMass head coach and assistant laughed.

"It would be too long and it would be boring everybody," he said, before getting down to answering the question this way.

"In 47 years, I've been the luckiest guy in coaching, probably in the history of coaching." he said. "Everybody has some moans and groans about this, that and the other thing. I'm working for a great guy right now. I came from Iowa, who is probably the master head coach of all. Before that I was with Mike London, a great, great guy. Before that, Tony Sparano, but my individual boss was Paul Pasqualoni, who is with us here at Boston College.

"Every place I've been, not only have I been with great guys, which is what coaching should be. Teachers, motivators, molders of young men. But I've also had the greatest guys I've ever coached at every place I've been."

Three of the players Reid recruited will be trying to stop the Eagles on Wednesday. They are senior linebackers Bo Bower, Ben Neimann and Josey Jewell.

So coaching against guys he recruited in a bowl game is a Daily Double that would not have taken Reid to the parimutual window.

"I'm going to be really honest with you," Reid said. "I never thought this would ever happen. What are the chances of this happening? In one way, I was happy because I would be able to see them.

"In the other way, I just felt kind of sick that we'd have to compete against guys that I just have great admiration for."

There is no doubt that the Boston College Eagles, winners of five of their last six games, would truly love to end the season with a victory. Reid is in that camp.

But when he's asked about his career, that included stops at the NFL, Division I-FBS and Division I-FCS levels, you won't hear anything negative from Jim Reid.

"You just can't complain," Reid said, "because there's nothing to complain about."

Howard Herman can be reached at, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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