An all-star on the court and at home
By Steve Rivera
Nothing Reggie Geary has done – help lead the Arizona Wildcats to a Final Four, play in the NBA, coach at various levels or raise funds for UArizona – can match what he has been doing for nearly 20 years: Being a dad.
He loves the work – if that’s what you want to call it. He’s one of five fathers who will be honored this summer as a Father’s Day Council Tucson Father of the Year.
“It’s the most rewarding and the most challenging job in the world,” said Geary, a standout Wildcat basketball player in the mid-1990s. He’s now senior director of development for the Wildcat Club and visible in the community and Arizona athletic events.
“From the time our first born came, life changed,” he said. “And with that I wanted to be a great father.
“I’ve tried to do that – although I’ve probably failed more than I would like,” he said with a laugh. “But my intentions are always around love and support in wanting to be a great father.”
“Reggie is a best dad because of who Reggie is,” said Candace, who will celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary with Reggie this summer. Their sons, Quincy and Wesley, are 19 and 15, respectively. “He has sacrificed everything for his kids. He wants only the best for the kids − always.”
If Reggie and Candace aren’t at their son’s activities, it’s a shock. Quincy is the one-time standout high school basketball player, now a UArizona freshman who hoping to get into law school. You might see Quincy working at the Arizona Sands Club at Arizona Stadium now and then. He’s also a practice player for the UArizona women’s basketball team. Wesley is the impressive young singer/actor.
“We’re like every other family with active children,” Reggie said. “One is into athletics and the other into arts. When they were younger it was getting them to practice, violin lessons or swimming lessons or rehearsals. Our life was centered on where they needed to be. And mine was trying to do that and go to sporting events, while being a good father.”
Good kids equal a good dad and, of course, a good mom.
Reggie saw that in his basketball coach at Arizona, Hall of Famer Lute Olson and his wife, Bobbi. Lute was a Father’s Day Council Father of the Year in 1995.
“Bobbi and Coach O were such a great couple. They were the perfect example of how Candace and I wanted to raise our family,” Reggie said. “I always loved that Coach Olson was such a family man and would openly display his affection for his family.”
Reggie does the same when he talks about his sons.
“I’m just so proud of the young men they’ve become,” Reggie said. “Both of our sons are very independent and talented. They’re really developing a vision for their futures. And they’re working hard towards those visions. As parents, that’s all you can ask for when they leave the home or when they need your house, you just hope they make good decisions. You support them and guide them as much as you can.”
Call it a good assist in raising kids to be proud of. But Reggie knows all about that given he had 560 assists as a UA player from 1993-1996. He helped lead the Wildcats to a Final Four in 1994 and a Sweet 16 in 1996. He ventured off to the NBA – at Cleveland and San Antonio − for a couple of years before finding coaching stints at various levels, including Japan and back at Arizona.
Now, Tucson is home and has been for more than two decades. Reggie is frequently asked to do radio color commentary alongside Brian Jeffries on Wildcats Sports 1290 and still work his business-like magic for the Wildcat Club.
“What I love so much about Reggie is: I love his personality, he is fun, he makes me laugh, his confidence, he can adapt to any room and be comfortable,” said Candace, who has known Reggie for nearly 34 years. “He’s good with people, he loves learning and being in new cultures and environments. He’s a natural leader, he has a good spirit, he’s an amazing and handsome human being.”
More importantly, she said, “He’s a great dad. You knew him as a player and how hard he worked. Well, that’s who he is. He wants to do everything for his kids. He wants them to succeed. He wants them to enjoy the activities they’re doing. He puts everything into taking care of his family.”
“It’s a very humbling experience,” Reggie said of the honor. “Obviously it’s nice to be recognized by your friends and by people that see something in you. I feel good about it.”