The Gentle Giant: Bo Reid’s Legacy

By Carlie Myers

The Choctaw Plaindealer

Carlton M. “Bo” Reid is known for many attributes, including being an All-American football player, a school principal, and a Sunday School teacher, but what many don’t know is that he was first introduced to his wife as the coach that couldn’t count.

It was during a Cleveland high school basketball game when Jo Anne Arnold would meet Bo Reid for the first time across the basketball court.  As Jo Anne was waiting in line to get back in the game after receiving her fourth foul, Reid buzzed the bell to get her attention that she had five fouls.  “I don’t have five fouls, I have four,” said Jo Anne to the officials.  Reid had miscounted and Jo Anne was out of the game.

Years later, Reid would come to Cleveland to coach football.  This was exciting news for the town because of Reid’s success in his high school years where he was a player in Ackerman’s 1947 undefeated team and his experience as a Mississippi State Bulldog.  When Jo Anne was asked by her former coach if she knew who Bo Reid was, Jo Anne, being an Ole Miss fan, had no idea but had heard the buzz around town about him.  Her coach told her he was the time keeper at the game years ago where she was thrown out for a fifth foul.  Surprised by the news, Jo Anne would meet her future husband several minutes later in her former coach’s office.

After coaching at Cleveland, Bo Reid would later become principal and assistant superintendent for Kosciusko High School and then Drew High School where he was Archie Manning’s principal, former New Orleans Saints football player.  Reid always joked that Archie wanted his autograph.  People would ask Reid, “Why did Archie want your autograph?” and Reid would respond, “To sign his diploma”.

Bo Reid had many accomplishments.  He was elected Football Team Captain and was voted Mr. Mississippi State in his undergrad years, he was a 3-year letterman, he was enshrined in the MS State Sports Hall of Fame, and he received the Distinguished American Award by the MSU Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.  He was also one of the founding coaches of the Little League Football Association where he led his Red Raiders to the first championship.  Reid accomplished a lot over his lifetime, but none of the awards and recognition he received can begin to explain who he was at heart.

On the day of Reid’s funeral, a secretary that worked with Reid at M&F Bank told Mrs. Reid about something her husband did that she never knew.  There was an elderly man that would come to Reid’s office at the bank one to two times a week.  The man would sit next to Reid and Reid would appear to be talking to him.  When asked by his co-workers what he was doing, Reid told them, “I’m teaching him how to read.  There are people taking advantage of him because he can’t read”.

Reid’s wife found what someone had wrote about him in an article that shows his sportsmanship on the field.  The article said, “As a center, the ball was in his hands every play.  The play did not begin until he snapped the ball.  Regardless of the success of the play, he never tried to take credit, but if it failed, he was quick to take the blame.”  Reid had a humble nature that never expected anything in return.  He was a ‘Gentle Giant’, as his wife would say.  A quote that Reid would often say is ‘Great effort brings great reward”.

Carlton M. “Bo” Reid lived a long and fulfilling 82 years when he passed to be with the Lord on April 4th, 2016.  He is survived by his wife of 55 years Jo Anne Arnold Reid, son Dale (Martha), of Ackerman, daughter Jan (Will) Bunch, of Saltillo, sister Louise Draper of Ackerman, Brother & sister in law Dr. Kent and Linda Cutrer of Lake Charles, LA, brother-in-law James R. Arnold III of Alpharetta, GA, grandchildren Miranda (Josh) Worrell, James Matthew “Bo” Reid of Lubbock, TX, Russell Reid Bunch and Annabelle Bunch of Saltillo and one great grandson Noah Worrell of Ackerman.