SAN ANTONIO – The former high school basketball coach of the suspect police say has confessed to a string of sexual assaults in the Medical Center area said Friday night that he was shaken and shocked when he heard the news of the ex-player’s arrest.
“When something like this happens, you just hope that it’s not true,” former Marshall boys basketball coach Reggie Ollendieck said. “This is a terrible, terrible situation.”
Anton Jamail Harris, 18, was arrested Thursday night at North Star Mall, only days after graduating from Marshall, where he was a reserve guard on the varsity basketball team as a senior.
“There was no behavior that we were witness to that would lead us to believe that something like this could take place,” Ollendieck said. “This has shocked us as much as anyone else. We’ve never seen any signs of anything like this from anyone in our program. Our kids are really hurting right now. Our prayers are going out to the victims involved in this.”
Ollendieck resigned his job as a coach on May 23 to become an assistant principal at Marshall, which is in the Northside Independent School District. Ollendieck, 39, had been the Rams’ boys basketball coach for the past five seasons.
Ollendieck met with about 25 of his former players Friday morning in the basketball squad’s team room. Marshall principal Susan Cleveland and assistant boys basketball coach Jon Alvarez also were at the meeting.
“We wanted to alleviate the pressure they’re getting,” Ollendieck said. “Some of them were getting contacted by the media. People were calling our kids. These are kids 15 and 16 years old. That’s a very difficult situation for young kids. We kind of talked through some things, and our prayers went out to the victims.
“We always preach family and values. Our kids and our community are really struggling with this whole thing right now. I know our program and our school in general are going to receive some backlash, but I just want people to know there are great kids at Marshall. I don’t want our kids being attached to that type of behavior.”
Ollendieck stressed that he was speaking as Harris’ former coach, and not for the Northside Independent School District or Marshall.
“We have high values and morals in our basketball program,” Ollendieck said. “At no time did we ever see any signs or characteristics of anything that would even remotely make us believe or feel that someone in our program would be involved in anything like that.
“This has rocked our community, our school and our program immensely. Something like this doesn’t represent the character of the kids in our program and our school. We’re just trying to pick up the pieces right now and move forward in a positive direction.”
Harris was in the Marshall basketball program for four years, but didn’t play on the varsity until his senior season, Ollendieck said.
An Iowa native, Ollendieck was head boys basketball coach at Southwest High School for two years before he succeeded longtime Marshall coach Terry Morris in 2012.
“We try to run our basketball program with high standards every single year,” Ollendieck said. “I just want to make sure this doesn’t overshadow the kind of kids that we have at Marshall High School.
“We have outstanding kids there. I feel for the kids in our program that are going to be faced with situations, comments that people will be making about them. They’re going to have a big challenge in learning how to deal with this.”
Ollendieck started his career in education in the NISD 17 years ago. He was a teacher and coach at Hobby and Luna middle schools in the NISD for seven years before moving to Southwest for a two-year stint as an assistant coach.