Former North Carolina State football coach Tom Reed dies at 77

Tom Reed (courtesy NC State Athletics)

Tom Reed, NC State’s head football coach from 1983-85, died in September 2022 at a long-term care facility in Zebulon, North Carolina. He was 77.

Hired from Miami of Ohio after five successful seasons there, Reed had three consecutive 3-8 years with the Wolfpack. Known as a defensive disciplinarian with a fiery personality, Reed was successful in elevating NC State’s recruiting to a national basis and improving his team’s academic standing at the university.

He coached and then recruited two California junior college quarterbacks who led the Wolfpack’s offense, Tim Esposito and Erik Kramer. Both Esposito and Kramer left NC State among the top passers in school history despite playing just two seasons. Kramer was named the 1986 ACC Player of the Year while playing for Reed’s successor, first-year head coach Dick Sheridan.

Following a loss to Duke in the Wolfpack’s regular-season finale, Reed abruptly resigned on Dec. 13, 1985, three years into his five-year contract with the school.

Reed, a 1967 graduate of Miami (Ohio) who played collegiately for Bo Schembechler, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater and coached the defensive line at Akron (1969-72), defensive backs at Arizona (1973), defensive line at Michigan (1974-77) and again as a defensive assistant at Michigan (1987-91) after his head coaching career.

Reed moved back to the Triangle in the 1990s to run his own executive-search consultant business and lived here until his death.