Born in 1941 in Daytona Beach, Florida, Reese earned two Florida high school state titles in the 200 IM. At the University of Florida he won three Southeastern Conference titles in 1961, '62, and '63. He became the head swim coach at Auburn in 1972, taking the team from the Southeastern Conference cellar to second place in the NCAA meet in six years. In 1978 he was hired as the University of Texas men's swimming coach and has led Texas to 10 NCAA titles in 32 seasons. His Texas teams have 31 consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA championships and 31 consecutive conference titles. He has coached 42 NCAA individual champions, 31 national champions, 204 all-Americans, and 26 Olympians to 29 gold medals. He won ASCA coach of the year in 2005, '06 and '09, and has been named NCAA coach of the year eight times, as well as being a three-time head coach of the U.S. men's Olympic swim team.