His office at Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy doesn’t have a couch. Not even a chair considered nap-worthy.
But with all the hours he puts in at RKA, there should be some place set aside for a little shut-eye.
Meet John Reingold, middle school dean and coach of not one, not two, but three of the Tigers’ varsity sports programs. You think you spend a lot of time at your job? Chances are Reingold has you beat.
So what does a typical day look like for Reingold at RKA?
“It depends,” he said. “If we have practice in the morning, I’m here at 6:45 a.m. If it’s just a straight school day, I’m here at 7:45 a.m.”
It also matters what time of the year we’re talking about and what sport is currently in season. Reingold begins his school year coaching the Tigers volleyball team. He follows that up with the boys basketball team, and closes out the year running the baseball program. Sounds pretty cut and dry until one considers the amount of time his crazed coaching schedule consumes.
“During the end of volleyball season, I was also doing basketball,” said Reingold, who has been at the school for 22 years. “So volleyball goes from September through November, and basketball starts Nov. 1, so that whole month of November I had to do both. So the only way to get both in was to practice in the morning with basketball, and then volleyball was in the afternoon. So basically, I was here for 12, 13-hour days.”
And unlike some coaches in the city who are merely picking up extra pay to coach a team, Reingold is all in from Day One. And it shows in the successes his programs have had, especially lately as RKA’s volleyball team is currently the back-to-back champions in the Public School Athletic League B Division. Not bad for a guy who took over the program with, wait, how much knowledge of the sport?
“Zero,” Reingold said. “I knew nothing about it. The principal asked me if I could take it over and I said sure. I thought it would last a year or so. But I really enjoyed it.”
The one volleyball championship banner hanging on the gymnasium wall and the other in Reingold’s office still waiting to go up are proof of the time and effort he puts into teaching his teams to be successful.
“I thrive off it,” Reingold said. “The good news is that I’ll know when it’s time to stop. When it becomes work and it becomes draining on a regular basis, that will be it. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to them. But I still have that energy, I still have that jolt.
“I expect a lot from my players so if I don’t have that to bring to the table, how can I ask them?”
Reingold’s coaching workload leaves him little time to have any outside interests, like travelling to some warm destination during the winter holiday break from school.
“I just want to try and squeeze the most out of these programs right now and I know I’m making sacrifices now,” Reingold said. “I don’t get to see my family as much as I wish, and I don’t get to go away much. I’d love to go to Hawaii or the Dominican Republic on this break but I can’t. I can’t do certain things. I’m asking my kids not to do it, so how am I going to do it?”
Reingold started both the baseball and boys basketball programs at the school in the early 2000s and has had some success with both, including winning the PSAL B baseball city title in 2010. While the baseball program has not won a postseason game lately, it’s still his passion.
“Baseball is my baby, and that’s funny because it’s the least successful,” Reingold said laughing. “We’ve been in the playoffs, but we haven’t won a postseason game in a long time. Baseball is what I grew up with. And volleyball is kind of my adopted little brother.”
Reingold — who receives a lot of help from a pair of indispensable assistants in Larry Ellis with volleyball and Andy Brereton with basketball — doesn’t see himself slowing down just yet. He’s having too much fun molding young players and getting very little sleep.
“I love it,” Reingold said. “Getting here at 6:45 a.m., getting all the running and conditioning done, and having them being disciplined in school. Doing all those things day in and day out, that’s what’s going to help these kids try and reach their dream. They still might not get there, but they will become a much better person.
“They’ll be a successful person no matter what they do in life.”