Call Him Mr. Ice Guy
BY MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer
Sunday, November 14, 2010
5/28/12 at 8:54 AM
Reginald Terry, better known as "Ice" or "Coach Ice" to most everyone he knows, can quote plenty of Bible verses, especially the one that warns: "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
So, honestly, the 59-year-old volunteer coach at Booker T. Washington High would just as soon have all these printed words drip clean off this page, while he darts from the color pictures.
The married father of grown boy-girl twins agreed to talk about his life because Mike Mims, the school's assistant principal over athletics, encouraged Terry to tell his story. It finds the former IRS collections officer overcoming a disabling office accident in 1991 - Terry still experiences blackouts along with severe neck, back and knee pain - to become a mentor to Washington student athletes since 1999. He's worked with other area student athletes since the late '70s.
One day at Washington, Principal James Furch watched Terry from a distance as he roamed the school cafeteria to, among other things, give school supplies to Jerrod Huey, a 14-year-old on the freshman football team. After meeting with Terry, Huey explained that his family was having "a hard time," then he walked back to class with a load of new supplies, including a calculator.
During that same lunchtime, Kaylan Mayberry, a 15-year-old sophomore on the varsity basketball team, explained how Terry, who volunteers with the girls basketball team, makes a difference in her life.
She is both the daughter of former NBA player Lee Mayberry and the sister of Taleya Mayberry, who played point guard at Washington before moving on to the University of Tulsa's basketball team.
"When I'm down, he just really says things that keep me up," Kaylan said. "He always says, 'Keep your head up always, no matter what.'
"My sister graduated two years ago. She was a really, really good player. And I feel like I've got to live up to what she's doing. Coach Ice said to be myself and just play my game."
Like the Mayberry sisters, both of Terry's 30-year-old twins played basketball at Washington. Shelly Terry is now an admission counselor for transfer students at Oklahoma State University. Her brother, Brannon Terry, played basketball and baseball at Washington. He works for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
Terry was asked to be a volunteer football coach - he serves as academic adviser and works with the offensive line - the year his twins left for college in 1999.
Edwina Taylor, Washington's attendance clerk, has known Terry since they were both in kindergarten. The pair are akin to surrogate parents to some Washington students, Taylor said.
"We will play mama and daddy in a minute, me and Ice, and other people around here," Taylor said in her office at Washington. "That's what we do, because we have to now. We really do."
Smiling at Terry, she said, "We love our children, don't we? Even though sometimes they make us want to kill them."
Thinking about all that Terry does for students, Taylor said, "He could walk up in here some days and a kid will say, 'Coach Ice, I need lunch. You have any money? Will you buy me lunch?' And he buys them lunch.
"If they need something, like clothing, and Ice knows they need it, Ice will go out, buy something and bring it in here and just say, 'OK, Miss Taylor, give this to this kid.' "
And if someone needs a ride home from practice, Taylor said, Terry is there to taxi them home in his brown Chevy Tahoe, which is easily spotted by its "ICE-ONE" license plate.
Each Wednesday morning, Terry drives that Tahoe through north Tulsa neighborhoods delivering his Meals on Wheels entrees to patrons like Dorothy Wilson. She's in her mid-60s but frail for her age. Standing on her front porch of a house in need of repairs, Wilson told Terry, "This is a good thing y'all doing." Then she talked herself out of tears by saying, "I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry."
Back at Washington, Taylor had even more praise for the Meals on Wheels delivery man.
"He motivates students," she said. "He's always asking them, 'why do you keep saying 'you can't do'? There's no such thing as 'you can't do.' He's always motivating them to strive to be more than what they think they can be, especially those athletes."
Taylor, doing her best Terry impression, pretended to scold a student: "Why aren't you in class, boy? Don't make me have to call your mama and daddy."
'He loves us all'
Alvin McDonald, a retired Tulsa Police Department homicide detective in charge of Washington security, played football with Terry. McDonald said of his longtime friend: "Our young males need roles models like Ice." Terry would say the same thing for McDonald.
Boston Williamson, a 17-year-old senior on the school baseball team, recalled how Terry helped him when Williamson, formerly of the football team, was having "problems in the locker room with drama stuff."
"He's real good about calming down drama," Williamson said. "He just opened our eyes. He just shows everybody that everybody loves everyone. He's really impartial with every student. He loves us all."
Terry has mentored Washington stars such as Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones, whom Terry comforted in the hospital when Jones suffered a complete dislocation of his ankle. Then there's New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem, whom Terry called "kind of a second son to us."
Not long ago, Terry took 15-year-old sophomore Michael Evans to purchase a passport for a late November class trip to China. Of course, the trip could leave the varsity linebacker in China during a possible state championship game, but the sacrifice is worth it to Terry and head football coach Darrell Hall.
The passport purchase was just another instance of Terry helping Evans, whose mother, Cynthia Evans, had a stroke in late July. She's better now, but while the boy's mother was in the hospital, Terry made sure the boy, who was home alone, didn't go hungry and kept out of trouble.
Principal Furch said of Terry, whom he has known since the mid-1970s, "I don't know what Booker T. would do if Ice didn't show up."
Then Furch added, "He didn't want to talk to (the Tulsa World). Do you know that? The reason is that he doesn't think he deserves credit for what he's done. But he does."
Maybe, at least Terry hopes, this tale will inspire others to find renewed purpose in volunteer work, just like he did.
Terry has volunteered for Washington High; Meals on Wheels; Big Brothers Big Sisters; the YMCA; Kendall-Whittier Elementary, where his wife is the school librarian; and Washington's Men of Power group, which teaches life lessons to young black men. Terry's also known to chaperone the school band on trips. And he occasionally speaks in Anthony Marshall's Washington class, which focuses on U.S. history from an African-American perspective.
It's all enough for someone to wonder how he manages it all, especially with a body worn down by football and broken by his early-1990s office accident.
While working for the IRS in Tulsa, Terry was in an office supply room when he stumbled over boxes that sent him falling head-first into a concrete reinforced-steel column. After being knocked unconscious, he was flown by helicopter to Hillcrest Medical Center. Beyond causing memory loss and blackouts, the accident resulted in pinched nerves in his neck and a slipped disc. Plus, it further ravaged his already bad knees. Terry has no cartilage in his left knee, very little in his right. He admits being obese doesn't help his physical condition. Terry has been certified disabled since 1992.
Sitting on his living room couch, Terry thought about the accident, which brought up emotions that caused his words to quiver and cast single tears down both of his cheeks. In the aftermath of the accident, Terry remembers his wife reassuring him: "You have ability. You can use your gifts and talents. We'll pray to God about it."
That's when, as Terry said, "God opened up another door for me." Through the doorway, Terry headed back to his alma mater and into his many volunteer endeavors.
Flip through the Bible, which reminds Terry - an elder at Pine Street Christian Church - to stay humble, and one will eventually find a verse that gives an answer to a question Terry often hears, even from his own parents: "Why do you spend so much time with those kids?"
Because the Bible told him so: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
The Ice Man Cometh
In 1968, Terry earned his nickname the same night he learned a lesson in humility from coach Edward Lacy, who won five state championships at Washington - two of them with Terry as his defensive tackle.
During the first half of that year's state championship game, Terry was "trying to be the hero," as Terry recalled about trying to tackle the quarterback. In the process, though, Terry left holes in the defense for the offense to exploit, so Terry ended up on the bench for almost the entire second half.
After the game, while all of his teammates celebrated, Terry sat on the team bus clad in his full uniform drenched in self-pity.
Then, all of a sudden, a beautiful majorette - the one Terry had pined after to no avail - appeared at his open bus window hoping to top off the evening with a kiss. Instead of puckering up, though, Terry saw the girl's advances as almost "taunting," so in a moment of fury, he slammed the window shut.
A teammate, Charles Harmon, saw Terry's icy response to the beauty, thus Harmon later told Terry, "We're going to start calling you Big Ice."
The nickname, eventually shortened to Ice, stuck even after Terry graduated from Washington in 1969 to take a football scholarship at Northeastern State University, where a freshman-year knee injury ended his playing career.
His mother still calls him Reginald.
Matt Gleason, 581-8473
Reginald Terry with Dondre Daniels. "He's always motivating them to strive to be more than what they think they can be," said Edwina Taylor, Washington High School attendance clerk, "especially those athletes." CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Coach Reginald Terry comforts running back Jermaine Holmes after BTW's 35-22 loss to Midwest City's Carl Albert in the 2004 Class 5A championship.
Reginald Terry, aka Coach Ice, delivers a meal for Meals on Wheels as part of his volunteer endeavors. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Booker T. Washington coach Reginald Terry, aka "Coach Ice" with Booker T. alum and Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones. Courtesy