Life after Lonn.
It still includes a Reisman - Chris.
And while Chris, the son of legendary coach Lonn, realizes he's stepping into a pressure-filled situation, it's one he's been looking forward to for years. He's also ready to make his own history leading the Tarleton Texans basketball team.
"Without question it’s tremendous pressure following the footsteps of a legend. With that being said, there is no one else I would be comfortable turning this program over to other than myself," Chris said. "I’m not sure anyone besides coach Reisman would understand the expectations at Tarleton State like I do. I take great pride taking over and representing such a prestigious school."
Chris spent 17 seasons on the bench as an assistant to his dad. He helped guide the team to almost 400 wins, more than half of his dad's 691 career total.
Lonn retired from coaching, but remained at Tarleton as athletic director. He held that position for 25 of his 30 years at the helm of the Texans basketball team.
Lonn gave some credit for his own longevity to having Chris alongside him for more than half of those years.
"This basketball program wouldn't be where it is today without the dedication, vision and passion that Chris has put into Tarleton basketball," Lonn said. "He has helped me tremendously in adapting to the times and to become a better coach. Chris' knowledge of the game and work ethic will carry him throughout his career, and I'm proud of everything he has accomplished. I know Tarleton basketball will continue to be an elite program with Chris' leadership."
Chris has been part of back-to-back Elite Eights in 2005 and 2006, and again in 2015 and 2016. Tarleton reached the Final Four in 2005 and 2015. In all, he's been a part of all 14 of Tarleton’s NCAA playoff berths.
"Chris has been one of the most sought-after coaches in the country over the past several years because of his knowledge of the game and his work ethic, which is second to none," Lonn said. "There is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to improve on what we've built here and that the values we have instilled in our program will remain the same."
Key returners for the Texans in Chris' inaugural season as head coach include seniors Corinthian Ramsey (18.6 points per game), Jaraan Lands (9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds),
and Jesse Hill (5.4 points, 3.4 rebounds); junior Josh Hawley (13.7 points, 9.3 rebounds); and sophomores Preston Enloe (5.6 points), Clashon Gaffney (2.6 points, 2.3 rebounds), and Sam Marshall (2.4 points, 15 starts as a freshman).
Top newcomers include junior Randall Broddie, who played at Memphis as a freshman before transferring to Walters State. He was a four-star recruit and the No. 7 shooting guard in the nation coming out of high school.
Other newcomers to watch include junior Richie Mitchell, a transfer from Division I Marist who scored a career-high nine points against perennial power Duke, and senior Brandon Goldsmith from NCAA Division I Tournament qualifier North Carolina Central.
Speaking of embraces, among Chris' many memories at Tarleton is the time the Texans returned to the Elite Eight in 2015 after nearly a decade of falling short.
"In my first three seasons as a full-time assistant we went to Elite Eight twice. In my mind I was thinking this is great. We can do this all the time," Chris recalled. "Over the next eight years we came close several times including losing on a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the sweet 16 in our home gym. I realized just how special it is to get that far.
"In 2015, we got a chance to host regionals again in Stephenville. We may have beaten one of the most talented Lone Star (Conference) teams I’ve ever faced, Angelo State led by now Texas Tech coach Chris Beard. Wisdom Gym was electric. Biggest crowd I’ve ever seen."
The Texans won a thriller by two points, creating one of the most special moments in Chris' life.
"Embracing dad on the sideline while everyone else celebrated was something I’ll never forget," he said. "The team was hoisting the trophy and my son Rush was raised above the crowd helping lift it. We celebrated all night."
Along with winning so many games coaching alongside his father, Chris started 34 games in his last two seasons playing for Lonn and finished his career ranked sixth on Tarleton’s all-time assists chart with 281. He led the LSC as a senior in 2001 with 6.08 assists.
"I grew up in Stephenville and use to run home after school to catch the last part of dad’s practices. When I was in junior high he use to let me jump in a couple drills or run sprints with the team at end of practice," Chris said. "I bled purple at a young age and every game was life or death to me. If we lost, I hurt for days. If we won, I rejoiced in the locker room with the team afterwards. They were my older brothers, my role models and they were family."
He's also working alongside Tarleton family with his coaching staff, which features three other former Texans players as his assistants, Rodney "Mac" McConnell (1998-00), Nic Cantrell (2005-08), and LaShon Sheffield (2004-06).
"They are all extremely loyal, and that’s very important to me," Chris said.
Ironically, Chris considered a different profession before joining his dad.
"I thought after I finished playing I would go into medicine. I was about to complete my pre-med degree my senior year, and as I started shadowing different jobs, I realized that wasn’t my passion," he said. "I had to stay around the game.
"Now, I have a chance to be the head coach of a program I have so much love and passion for. So yes, you could say it’s a dream come true."