"He's not only a legend here in Washington County, but I consider him a (national) high school legend," said Eugene "Yogi" Martin, supervisor of health education, physical education and athletics for the county Board of Education.
Reid, with a career record of 207-100-2, was coaching in his 29th year at Smithsburg, having taken two years off in the 1970s for a health problem. His team started this season with a 0-5 record, but he said the losses had nothing to do with his decision.
Sophomore defensive lineman Matt Hood, 16, said the team was told of the resignation at its Thursday practice by assistant coach Buddy Orndorff, who is now the team's head coach. He said Reid didn't speak to the team and was seen packing things in his office shortly before practice.
Hood said he wanted to play for Reid since he was 10 years old, and was sorry to see him go.
"He was great. He knew a lot," Hood said.
Reid took the Smithsburg job in 1967 after coaching in Virginia for 10 years, leading the Leopards to seven Bi-State League titles. Smithsburg claimed its lone Monocacy Valley Athletic League crown in 1984 when Reid led them to a 13-0 record and a state championship. The Leopards also won state titles in 1979, 1988 and 1994.
"For anyone to win four state championships says it all right there. You can count those people in the state of Maryland on one hand," Cross said.
Beyond the wins and losses, another measure of the success of Reid's program has been the many players who used his tutelage to go on to college, Martin said.
"There have been very few people who have been able to touch as many kids' lives and as many people's lives as he has," Martin said.
It was after the last state title three years ago that Reid first considered resigning, he said. But he was talked out of it by some of the players' parents who wanted him to return, he said.
Instead, he retired as a teacher at Smithsburg and stayed as coach.
In August, Reid was inducted into the Maryland Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame and said then he was looking forward to the upcoming season.
Reid said his success at Smithsburg was a combined effort of players, coaches and others, including many volunteers who had no connection with the program other than just wanting to help.
"I'd like to thank all the people over the years who helped," he said.