Website – https://www.coachmays.com/
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @CoachJMays
Jason Mays just completed his third season as the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Ashland Blazer High School in Ashland, Kentucky. In 2020 the Ashland Tomcats, finished 33-0, ranked #2 in Kentucky and became the first team in Kentucky high school history to win 2000 games. This year Mays led this Tomcats to the Final Four in the state of Kentucky.
Mays was previously an assistant coach and interim Head Coach at Kentucky Wesleyan after spending two seasons at Valdosta State University of the Gulf South Conference.
Prior to Valdosta State, Mays spent seven years coaching alongside Head Coach Happy Osborne at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.
Jason also hosts the CoachMays.com Podcast on the Hoop Heads Pod Network, Make sure sure you check that out!
If you’re looking to improve your coaching please consider joining the Hoop Heads Mentorship Program. We believe that having a mentor is the best way to maximize your potential and become a transformational coach. By matching you up with one of our experienced mentors you’ll develop a one on one relationship that will help your coaching, your team, your program, and your mindset. The Hoop Heads Mentorship Program delivers mentoring services to basketball coaches at all levels through our team of experienced Head Coaches. Find out more at hoopheadspod.com or shoot me an email directly email@example.com
Our roster of shows is growing so don’t forget to check out all our other podcasts on the Hoop Heads Pod Network including Thrive with Trevor Huffman, Beyond the Ball, The CoachMays.com Podcast, Player’s Court, Bleachers & Boards, The Green Light, Courtside Culture and our team focused NBA Podcasts: Cavalier Central, Knuck if you Buck, The 305 Culture, #Lakers, Motor City Hoops, X’s and O’s: NBA Breakdown, Spanning the Spurs, LA Hoops, The Wizards Hoops Analyst, Lakers Fast Break, At The Buzzer & Daily Thunder. We’re looking for more NBA podcasters interested in hosting their own show centered on a particular team. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in learning more and bringing your talent to our network.
Grab a notebook and take down some ideas as you listen to this episode with Jason Mays, Boys’ Basketball Head Coach at Ashland Blazer High School in Ashland, Kentucky.
What We Discuss with Jason Mays
- Growing up a Kentucky Wildcat fan in the suburbs of Cinncinnati
- Giving free throw lessons to kids in his neighborhood for a dime
- Coaching some freshman games as a high school senior after an injury set him back as a player
- Working for Happy Osbourne as a student assistant coach at Georgetown (KY) College and the value of that experience
- Getting his first job at Maine Central Institute, but leaving for St. Catherine Junior College when the head coach, Max Goode, went to UNLV
- Why he left coaching to be a financial advisor for seven years
- Getting back into coaching at Valdosta State and then Kentucky Wesleyan
- “Why not try to have an impact on people while you’re guiding them through something that they’re passionate about?”
- How he has sustained a positive relationship with his wife and been a great father while putting in long hours and commutes as a coach
- “Mistake your way to mastery.”
- How getting a lot of responsibility early in his career helped him develop a wide range of experiences that he could draw on later
- Why the ability to delegate and look at challenges form different perspectives is so important
- Don’t try to always prove you’re right. Let the players figure it out sometimes.
- The difference between coaching high school and coaching in college
- “Recruiting is the life blood of any college program.”
- What kids need from a coach/mentor in high school is different than what they need in college
- Seeing a player’s “firsts” in high school
- The importance of engaging the community and developing a connection between the youth program and the varsity team as a high school coach
- The synergy that is developed when kids grow up playing together
- How he sets up and implements the culture for youth basketball in Ashland
- The Tomcat mission statement is to “Have championship experiences while having personal development.”
- Confidence, composure, and class
- “Don’t do something that’s going to require an apology to your team later.”
- Tips for practice planning and being efficient
- His defensive philosophy and how he teaches communication “Speak the Obvious”
- Building a common language
- How he uses scouting reports and film with both his staff and players
- The challenge of continuing to evolve as a coach and a program
- The joy of coaching in Ashland, Kentucky that is so passionate about their basketball
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!Become a Patron!
We’re excited to partner with Dr. Dish, the world’s best shooting machine! Mention the Hoop Heads Podcast when you place your order and get $300 off a brand new state of the art Dr. Dish Shooting Machine!
As the first exo-performance company, ARYSE makes products that mimic and strengthen the way the body works. Human anatomy is an incredible machine; your gear shouldn’t slow it down. Your performance should never be limited.
Prepare like the pros with the all new FastDraw and FastScout. FastDraw has been the number one play diagramming software for coaches for years, and now with it’s integrated web platform, coaches have the ability to add video to plays and share them directly to their players Android and iPhones via their mobile app. Coaches can also create customized scouting reports, upload and send game and practice film straight to the mobile app. Your players and staff have never been as prepared for games as they will after using FastDraw & FastScout. You’ll see quickly why FastModel Sports has the most compelling and intuitive basketball software out there! In addition to a great product, they also provide basketball coaching content and resources through their blog and playbank, which features over 8,000 free plays and drills from their online coaching community. For access to these plays and more information, visit fastmodelsports.com or follow them on Twitter @FastModel.
Safe, Secure and Powerful Digital Fundraising for Groups and Teams
Snap! Raise was built to help coaches, group leaders, district administrators, boosters and athletic directors raise the funds they need quickly and easily. From smart campaign set-up and customizable website creation to team and fan gear, district-level reporting, and secure donor engagement Snap! Raise has something for every group. Snap! Raise is built for youth leaders dedicated to making a difference in their communities. Start a Fundraiser
To win a championship or play in college, high basketball IQ is essential. Yet, few players develop this aspect of their game. Get the uncommon skills, habits, and mindset Jamal Murray and other pros discovered at PGC Basketball camps to take their game to the highest levels.
PGC offers 5-day, 4-night basketball camps that include meals and accommodations, and day camps from 9am-4pm. Get registered today at pgcbasketball.com
THANKS, JASON MAYS
If you enjoyed this episode with Jason Mays let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly NBA episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
TRANSCRIPT FOR JASON MAYS – ASHLAND BLAZER (KY) HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL HEAD COACH – EPISODE 459
Jason Mays Raw
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to welcome tonight to the podcast. A very special guest, the head coach at Ashland Blazer high school in Ashland, Kentucky, and also the host of the CoachMays.com podcast here on the Hoop Heads Pod Net, Jason Mays, Jason, welcome top the Hoop Heads Pod.
Jason Mays: [00:00:21] Hey guys, thank you for having me on this is cool. You know, you, you, you it’s, it’s my, I think it’s the first time I’ve been invited to do an interview on a podcast that I routinely listened to. So yeah, you guys I’ve got a lot of coaches in Kentucky, listen to you guys and keep doing what you’re doing.
I’m glad to be part of your family.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:42] Yeah, we’re having a blast. And like I told you, before we jumped out, and this is probably long overdue, especially with all the success that you’ve been able to have at various levels as a basketball coach and wanted to get on and get a chance to pick your brain and learn some of the things that have been the secret to your success, and then share those with our [00:01:00] audience of coaches.
We’ll start by going back in time to when you were a kid, just give us an idea of how you got into the game of basketball when you were younger, what it meant to you and kind of what your first experiences were with the game.
Jason Mays: [00:01:12] I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a little town called Sharonville. I was actually there this past weekend for the first time in a long time and drove by my old high school Princeton high school, where I went to school and golly, what a massive campus that is now.
And but you know, grew up in Sharonville suburb, Northern suburb of Cincinnati. And my mom and my dad are both from Eastern Kentucky. They, they graduated high school, got married and went to find work. And my, my, they moved to Cincinnati. So part of growing up with my mom and dad was you had to be a Kentucky Wildcat basketball fan.
So I grew up thick and decay with left for was just this uncle that I never had met that everybody talked about. Who was for you guys, you don’t know, cable left for was a long time [00:02:00] voice quote, unquote, voice of the Wildcats the radio announcer for all the Kentucky basketball games. And so I just grew up listening to Kentucky basketball and I am 1300 in Cincinnati and watching them on TV.
And just was a big UK basketball fan.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:15] Who was your first team? What was your first team that you remember?
Jason Mays: [00:02:19] Hmm. I can remember all the 78. I can remember I was born in 76, but I can still remember Kyle Macy. I can remember, you know, the Rex Chapman years. I can remember Sam Bouey and Melvin Turpin. So I mean the, the eighties really?
I can, I can go there.
Mike Klinzing: [00:02:38] The goose, the goose givens Stevens. Yeah, this is the first, that’s the first NCAA title game that I have. That I have a recollection of
Jason Mays: [00:02:42] Lexington, Kentucky. Yeah. The play played a bra, I believe Bryan station high school, but you know, it’s true. Me Claytor was a point guard and at 70 18, he was my, he was my camp counselor one year at a.
Eddie Sutton basketball camp at the university of Kentucky in [00:03:00] 1988. So but just grew up a UK fan and started playing where you know, youth league basketball when I was seven or eight years old, maybe even a little bit younger than that six maybe. And I remember I was pretty good. It wasn’t great.
I was pretty good. And I started giving free throw lessons in my driveway for a dime, a lesson and kids would come and I’d teach them how to shoot free throws and just neighborhood kids. And just over the years, I really fell in love with Rick Pitino when he first got to Kentucky and what he, what he did with those early teams and the style of play that he brought to a Kentucky basketball.
So. I moved from Cincinnati to Georgetown, Kentucky which is a Northern suburb of Lexington when I was 16. So I graduated high school from Scott County high school. People probably know that from a basketball standpoint, they have one of the top basketball, high school basketball programs in Kentucky and you know, thought, Hey, you know, I come from Princeton high school and I’m going to come to here, show these Kentucky [00:04:00] kids how to play.
And little did. I know that our team at Scott County would have probably beat Princeton by about 25. So you know my, I broke my ankle and then I also broke the same foot four days after I get out of the cast. So my high school career in Kentucky, my junior and senior year never really got going.
I was good. It wasn’t great. I, I played a lot of sports, you know, I played water polo and when I was in Cincinnati, how’d you get into that? You know, precedent had a really good water polo. We had an auditorium, had a pool on campus and they had a state championship caliber water polo program.
And we had, we had a guy go to USC guy with the Naval Academy to play guy, went to long beach state to play. I mean, they, they, they were good. Never could really be Cleveland St. Ignatius, but play water polo, played golf, played football, played baseball. You know, and just played a little bit of everything, but basketball was always my favorite move to Kentucky.
And I asked if they had a water polo team. They said we didn’t know horses swam. So you know, it [00:05:00] was you know, they, so I was like, okay, it’s I played golf. And I tried to play basketball, got injured. And bottom line was, I was going to be the ninth senior on a team that I had just moved to, to join.
And my high school coach was a great coach, Billy Ray Reynolds. And he said, look, you know, you can do this. If you want, what do you really want this? I really want to coach. So I actually for one reason or another, I, there was some medical issues with some of the other coaches on staff. I actually got to coach.
I don’t even know if this was legal, some freshmen games as a high school, senior. And, you know, he just went in there and he let me coach some freshmen games and I was a high school senior, and just learning it as I went and organized practices. And it was, it was, it was a blast. And so I, I wrote every division, one coach in the country and a lot of division, two coaches in the country asking to be a manager because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play.
So I [00:06:00] wanted to coach and I figured I’ll wash jocks and socks and work my way up, you know, and I had a chance to go to Arizona when lute Olson was there. St. John’s back when they had a member fleet, a Lopez was player of the year. I think it was 94. Yeah, 94. He was there and LSU when Dale Brown was there.
And so I was, you know, I even taught to Indiana some, I talked to their Bobby Knight coach. I’d always let their athletic trainer pick their manager. So, and I was talking to bill Kylie a little bit. I Kentucky the equipment manager for the university of Kentucky, but one day I’m in school.
It’s a cool story. I mean, I’m in history class and this little short fat guy walks in and happy Osborne now for people don’t realize that name, happy Osborne. At the time was the assistant coach to Jim Reed at Georgetown college and NAI program in Georgetown, Kentucky. And happy comes in and says, look, I hear you want to get into coaching.
You’re going to be our manager for the next four or five years, [00:07:00] hop in the car with me. And I was like, what is right in middle of school day at my high school coach was my history teacher. So he said, I got you go. And I said, okay. So I just left school, got in a car with this guy I’d never met before. And he took me to Elkhorn city, Kentucky Elkhorn city, Kentucky is about as far East, as you can go without being in Virginia.
All right. It’s in pike, County, Kentucky. And there was a high school there called Elkhorn city high school. They had a player named Todd Conley. They called him little Hef because he was about six foot two, and he weighed about 240 pounds. All right. Point guard, average 35 points a game that year and was a candidate for Mr.
Basketball and happy. He was going down to recruiting and he was going to having an in-person visit. And so I was along for the ride this day. So we get there and I get to sit in on the pitch. I was like, this is cool. We leave the room. And Billy Donovan and John [00:08:00] Pelphrey walk in John Pelphrey was his assistant.
They were at Marshall at the time. They give their pitch. Then we got to go in and counter and then they got to come in and counter. I was like, this is awesome. You know, and you know, I knew who Billy Donovan was. He was his young go getter was, you know, was that Kentucky. And he just got the job. And I had just had this guy named Jason Williams.
Everybody was talking about, you know, and so two days later, a little half makes us the decision and he picked us, you know, and we were, so we were tickled to death and I got to be a part of that. I was sold. And my high school coach told me, he solicited, you can go to Indiana. You can go to LSU, Arizona St John’s and you could be the, I know how you’re going to work.
You’re going to be the best jock washer they’ve ever seen. Or you can go right over here to Georgetown college which was where Scott County high school was that Scott County high school is where the city of Georgetown is. And he said, you can learn to coach right away. And [00:09:00] they’re going to give the opportunity to do that.
And so I said, it made a lot of sense to me. So I enrolled in Georgetown college and was there, I was on a five-year plan. I think I graduated more history hours than any other history major in the history there. I just, I was focused on basketball. And I a double major in history and political science and loved every bit of it.
While we were there, I’d be, I was a student assistant and then we hired more student assistants and I had more and more responsibilities. And you know, I was doing scouting and recruiting and on-campus visits when I was a sophomore in college, you know, I was breaking down film as a freshmen, you know, just, they, they allowed me to, to learn actively participate.
And I was, I was a copious note taker everyday in practice. And I was hooked. I knew this was what I was going to do with my life. So at the age of 21 I was offered my first job and it was at Maine central Institute. Which at the time was a prep school. They don’t have a program anymore, but [00:10:00] back before everybody had a prep school and you know, every street, every street corner in the country had a prep school.
The prep school league, they by recruiter was a new England prep school league. You know, they, they, the boarding schools that traditional boarding schools and main central Institute was the best. I mean, they were good. They were coached by max Goode who used to be the head coach at EKU. At the time I went up there and accepted the job, I was going to be the intermural director and run a dorm.
They had DeMar Johnson, they had Caron Butler Avery queen. They had 12 players signed division, one scholarships. And every game that I was part of, there was an NBA scout watching Cron and Damar, you know, Crump ended up having a great year career Yukon in the NBA. DeMar went to Cincinnati, played for the Atlanta Hawks.
It was just, it was incredible. Well, coach good ended up leaving to go. Billy Bayno to UNL V so I, my opportunity was gone. So late summer I ended up landing a assistant job at [00:11:00] St. Catherine junior college. In Springfield, Kentucky, it also doesn’t exist anymore. And so I was 21 years old and I was a paid college basketball coach.
You know, a lot of kids nowadays, they go the GA route and I just, I dove right in as a full-time assistant. And just worked my way up. Mainly through small college ranks spent many years at Georgetown college won a national championship in 1998. There played in several final fours, had 27 guys signed signed to play pro ball from there.
And then in 2006, our son was born our first child and he was born with complications and it was scary. He’s perfectly normal. Now he’s a great little athlete, great student, great kid. But he, he didn’t want to, he didn’t want to live on his own there for a while and I panicked and I got out of coaching.
I want to be a good dad. I want to be a good husband. And I was all basketball for so many years and it was very prideful and realized that it took that to [00:12:00] wake me up that experience with our first child being born realized that I needed to be a better husband to my wife, and I’m not prepared to be a great father.
So I got out and I was a financial advisor for seven years in Lexington, Kentucky. And realized that I’m allergic to money, I guess, is what I tell people. And I got back in it with the support of my wife. And then I’ll finish this up real quick is my wife, she was principal of an elementary school in Scott County and I got a job offer to go to Valdosta state university, 10 hours away from Georgetown, Kentucky.
And she said, you need to be a coach. And for the next three years, I commuted away from Georgetown. When my wife and two kids, we have a daughter as well chasing this dream, getting back into college coaching. Aspect two years of that also state. And I spent one year as the associate head coach and after six games our head coach resigned, resigned for medical reasons, and I became the interim head coach at the women’s program in division two history of Kentucky Wesleyan.
Just like most interim [00:13:00] guys. You don’t get the job when you’re done. And I, I didn’t they didn’t retain me as the full-time head coach. So I was faced with a choice. Do I go, you know, do I continue to live away from home? Or do I sort of change? And I knew I wanted a coach and an opportunity to coach at Ashland blazer high school came up and here we are, my wife works in the district as an administrator.
And I’m a teacher and I’m the boys’ basketball coach, at Ashland blazer.
Mike Klinzing: [00:13:30] That is a saga. Of travel of learning, of being at different levels, in different areas of the country, in different places and different experiences. And I want to, there’s two things that jumped out at me from those that, from the stories that you told their first question is what was it about coaching that right from the very beginning [00:14:00] grabbed you?
Because we’ve talked to on the podcast, people usually fall into one of two categories. They’re either somebody who, from the time they were young, even while they were still playing, they always knew they wanted to be a coach. And then there’s another group of people that our players, our players, our players, they get done playing, and now they look around.
They’re like, Oh, the game is going to be over. How can I stay in the game? And then that’s how they come to coaching. And it seems like for you, you kind of always had it in your head that you wanted to be a coach. So what was it about coaching initially, if you can think back to that first experience or that first desire to be a coach, what was it about coaching that attracted you to the profession
Jason Mays: [00:14:40]
Well, I can articulate it better now than I could when I was figuring it out back when I was in high school. But I’ve always, I think God’s blessed me with the desire to make an impact, have an impact on people. And so why not try to have an impact on people [00:15:00] while you’re guiding them through something that they’re passionate about?
I mean, you can, I, I had an impact on people as a financial advisor helping them guide their retirement planning and their estate planning, but, you know, I mean, th that’s an important role. It’s a very important role, but, you know, Coaching high school, which is what I do now, or coaching college, you’re influencing 14 to 18 year old kids, 18 to 22 year old kids at the college level.
I mean, those are the times of their life when your impact is as important as, I mean, you know Don Meyer says it’s as important in some regards as the parent’s role. You know, John wooden has said that Billy Graham said one of the greatest mentors, a young man or young woman can have is there is a coach.
And so why not have an impact on another, another person through something that you’re both passionate about? And it was, you know, [00:16:00] basketball. And so how, you know, and then I found that you can actually make money doing this. I’m all in, you know, I’ve never been a, a guy that’s really chased the dollar.
I probably have made mistakes in that regards. You know, I sorta I’ve, you know, my marriage is, is awesome. I love my wife, but there’s been times where she’s like Boston and made the other guy I dated in college. You know? I mean it, but it’s always because you’re, you’re mentoring someone else through the game of basketball.
God’s given them an ability to run, to jump, to bounce, a ball, to shoot a ball through a realm. And you can take that opportunity as a way to develop them as people. And I mean, I think it’s one of the highest callings there is.
Mike Klinzing: [00:16:47] Absolutely. I think you said it best and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it expressed.
Quite that way. But when you said that you’re able to have an impact with people who are doing something that [00:17:00] they’re passionate about, and I think that’s true. We don’t all get to that. Get to be able to do that depending upon what your profession is. Just think about being a financial advisor, no matter how passionate you are as a financial advisor, the odds that your clients are going to be passionate about their finances.
I mean, sure. Everybody cares about their finances and wants to do well. But as far as like getting down into the nitty-gritty of what investments they’re going to make and what the numbers look like, there’s a reason why they’re hiring a financial advisors, because they’re not, they’re not passionate about, about finance.
Whereas with the basketball team, you have kids, hopefully that do care about it and do love it and are passionate about it. And as you said, if you can do something that you’re passionate about and the people that you’re leading are also are also passionate about man, that’s, that’s a win-win and I’ve never quite heard it expressed.
Quite that way. And it really hit home with me. The other thing that came out of your story for me is you talking about your wife and it’s something [00:18:00] that we’ve talked with other coaches about in terms of what, you know, how a supportive spouse, how important that is for you to be able to have success as a coach.
So when you and your wife got married, did she know what she was getting into in terms of a life of a coach prior to marrying you? And then how did you guys go about having conversations as you’re going through your career while you guys are married?
Jason Mays: [00:18:31] No, she didn’t know early on, but how was she supposed to?
I mean, when she, when we were seriously dating and even into our engagement, she thought it was the craziest thing she’s ever witnessed in her life. You know what you’re going to Birmingham and back in the same day, and you’re, you’re home at four in the morning and you’re up in the office at six 30, you know, w w this is stupid.
You know, she, she didn’t understand it at first. No one does any, any same, you know, that, that, [00:19:00] that gets the, see behind the scenes of a, of a college basketball staff. They’re like, this is crazy. You know, this is not, I mean, the auto want to get a basketball game. And, you know, the, the, the 98% of the 99% of the people in the world, they wouldn’t get it.
They just don’t. And so, but once she started seeing the relationships that were involved, not only with the players, but with the coaches and, you know, she was, she was athletic as well. My wife is a three times world champion Clogger, you know tha tha thank Irish step dancing, except. You know, it’s not the Irish.
You know, she, she was really successful and she’s in a world clogging hall of fame. She was a very successful, not only cheerleader, but cheerleading coach. He coached college cheerleading coach high school cheerleader, coach, middle school cheerleading. And she’s, she’s very athletic herself and was very competitive.
She was little miss [00:20:00] hemisphere and she was in pageants. And so she had a competitive drive. It was just different. You know, it wasn’t basketball. She didn’t, she, I think played one year of youth basketball. And that was, you know, it was more of a story you tell over dinner to crack jokes at it.
You know, she never took anything seriously out of it, but she didn’t know at first, but I think once she started seeing back to the impact that I was having and then that she could have on these kids and. As, as, as being a part of it, you know, I think she got hooked and me, our kids here at blazer love Ms.
Lori, Beth, you know, and my wife’s name is Lori Beth. And I mean, they, they, they love her. They, they, they just, they think she’s the sweetest, most positive person. And I think she’s, she’s ate up with it, you know, and she’s a cheerleader at heart. So but without her, I mean, let’s go back into the details here, Mike, for a [00:21:00] second picture this, I mean, we, I was a financial advisor.
She had just got a job to hot to build a brand new elementary school and become a principal at it. Dream job, get to hire a hundred percent of the staff certified classified staff dream job. Okay. And I come to her and this was also right after her father passed away, who was a really, really good man.
And I said, honey, I want to get back into coaching and I got to do it 10 hours away, and I know you can’t move. Cause you just took this job and we’re, we’re, we’re grieving the loss of your dad. Terrible timing on my part. And for her to say, I trust you. I agree with you that you need to, I mean, what, what wife does that, you know?
And so I’ll never forget the morning. 4:00 AM. I got a loaded U-Haul and I’m leaving for Valdosta, Georgia, and I’m looking at my, my kids and my wife crying on the doorstep in Georgetown, Kentucky. Like what is dad doing? I [00:22:00] mean, it just, it was, it was so risky. And but without her supporters, no way that it would have worked.
And we did it for two years. I mean, I was fortunate enough to have a really cool place to live down on campus that that helped out financially. I had a school car at a school phone. So, I mean, there were things that, you know, it just seemed like God put things in our way and along the way for us that made that journey easier, which also allowed us to have faith in that journey.
And then you know, happy Osborne who had worked with, for George at Georgetown college all those years, he was now the head coach at Kentucky Westland. So he called and said, look, I’m going to retire in a few years. I want you to be the associated coach and let’s, let’s get this thing on a way to where you could take over you know, hypothetically at the time nothing’s guaranteed.
And so I I’d say, Hey, I’m coming home, but now I’m only gonna be three hours away. So she still stayed in Georgetown with the kids. As I did that in Owensboro, [00:23:00] three hours away, another time zone away, I was central time zone. And so there was really three years of coming home once every 14 days for 28 hours, 32 hours, and then being gone again.
And it just, that’s not sustainable for anybody’s marriage. So that that’s, that’s when we had to make a decision on what we were going to do. And that’s when changing into, to become a high school teacher and a high school coach. But you’re right. If it’s not without her, if it’s not for her support, none of this happens.
None of this happens. Yeah,
Mike Klinzing: [00:23:34] I think it’s so true that you have to, you have to have your spouse on board and if your spouse isn’t on board with it, then I think it very, very quickly becomes not very much fun, even if you’re having fun within the confines of your team or your practices or your coaching.
If you have an unhappy family waiting for you at home, it just takes away. Obviously the joy that you might get [00:24:00] from the basketball side of it, because clearly as important as the basketball is to all of us, our families are even more important. And when you don’t have that good balance and everybody’s not on board, it makes it really, really difficult.
The number of coaches that talk about having just, you know, my spouse is the MVP of our, you know, of our marriage because they have to sacrifice a lot in order for a coach to be able to do what they’re passionate about. And certainly it sounds like that’s exactly what you have. Next thing I want to ask you about is.
Two transitions. So first transition is what did you learn in your years as an assistant coach that have made you a better head coach? And it could be in relation to how you utilize your assistance or something in that realm, or maybe it’s just something that you picked up that you feel like helped you become a better head coach.
And then the second thing after we talk about that, we’ll talk about the transition from college to high school. Let’s focus on the transition from [00:25:00] assistant to head coach
Jason Mays: [00:25:01] first. Well, I was fortunate to be an assistant positions where the head coaches gave me a lot of responsibility. You know, I’m 45 now, Mike, so I don’t think I’m old, but I, I sorta, you know, in college basketball staffs.
Now, if you’re an assistant you’re 45 years old, you’re the old guy on staff, you know? So You know, when I was young, I mean, I got thrown into doing all kinds of responsible, you know, you’re in charge of this game scout at the final Ford. And in that NAI national tournament, he gets, you know, David at the time there David Lipscomb university now Lipscomb university, or they were playing Belmont.
You got to scout and I’m 22 years old while you kidding me. You know against Rick, Rick bird, you know, that I knew it was a good coach and I was going to be a hall of fame coach, you know I just in recruiting, you know, just and happy and coach, coach Reed, I was under co-treat as a manager for two years, coach Rita, you know, lost his life to, to lung cancer in 1996.
[00:26:00] So that was a cool experience. You know, having to transition from a coach who is well-respected in NAIA hall of fame. And then, you know, that that tragedy happened where, you know, coach lost his life to cancer. And then the assistant, you know, who had been there for years happy takes over. And, you know, we didn’t really miss a beat.
I mean, we competed for, we won a national championship under his guidance in play and lost the national championship game in 96. And so I just, he, he trusted this young, energetic is happy. It was like, look, I’d rather call you off than call you on. As long as you bring the juice every day, you’re going to mistake your way to mastery.
You know, and, you know, I tell people all the time, mistake your way to mastery. And I was allowed to do that. I was allowed to do that today. I think a lot of young coaches they’re sort of boxed into our, this is the fence that you have to stay in and your job. So they become really good at anything that’s inside those parameters.
And when they, you know, try to get a [00:27:00] job outside of those parameters, it’s okay. You got to relearn, get a retrain. You know, we got, I mean, it was everything, everything from equipment management to practice planning, to recruiting, to you know, game prepping to CA I mean, we had the largest team camp in Kentucky.
You know, we had 1200 kids at our team camp, usually 13 gyms providing transportation. They all stayed on campus. That’s a, I mean, that’s a logistical nightmare. We were just running camps. And so I was fortunate and it wasn’t just happy at Georgetown, you know, Coachella for Valdosta state, you know, really trusted me to sort of turn around recruiting there at VSU.
And they had won 10 games a year before. I came and we go 17 and 10. And then the second year when we had, you know, a fully, a full fledged recruiting class underneath our belts, we were 26 in 26 and five, 26 and six, and said all time wins, record and program history. So then when [00:28:00] the number two seed in the NCAA, South regional, so again, he trusted me and he gave, he gave me a big plate and said, fill it up.
And just get it all done. And so I was fortunate there and then it Kentucky Wesleyan. I mean, he won’t talk about opportunity. I mean, have obviously trusted me. So when I was the assistant there, he said, all right, you know, you’re in charge of recruiting and this and that. And I was still figuring a way cause I, I didn’t get the job there till late in the summer.
And then when he resigned after six games and we were one in five and your name, the interim coach so again, you, you mistake your way to mastery. And then that season alone, man, I could write a book on that season, all the mistakes I made and dealing with players and dealing with my own ego and, you know, acting like a head coach rather than being a head coach, but still acting like an assistant that, you [00:29:00] know, there’s just all kinds of nuances that I would have done differently, but.
No one trains you for that. You know, so, and I didn’t recruit any of those players. So as an assistant, I was fortunate enough to have a lot of responsibility. And I learned that the best opportunities that we have in life, this is not just in coaching often become responsibilities. And so, you know, an opportunity to be in charge of a final four scout or a national championship game scout.
You know, that’s not an opportunity anymore. That’s your responsibility. Get a right. So you throw yourself into that cause you don’t want to let your players and your head coach down. So I, I think that was a key, I, I just, I had a lot of leeway to make mistakes because I had trust from my head coach as well when I was an assistant.
And so I try to do the same thing now in our, in our program here at Ashlynn blazer, we have four assistant coaches and you know, we, [00:30:00] we delegate certain responsibilities to a mall, but our associate head coach, Ryan Bonner, I mean, I thought a lot at him. And you know, sometimes he, you asked me a question, he wants me to answer it and I’ll say, just figure it out, you know?
And that’s, that’s the best answer I can give him because that’s how he’s gonna learn. You know, the best is, is by mistaking, his way to mastery.
Mike Klinzing: [00:30:24] Is that hard to do as a head coach when you know that ultimately the staff. The team is being judged. You’re you’re being judged. You’re the person that’s being judged.
The assistant coach is not ultimately being judged. So one of the things that we’ve talked a lot with coaches about is how, especially early in head coaching careers, coaches tend to be, they would, they tend to micromanage because they’re control freaks. They want to control every aspect of what goes on in the program, because they are so invested in it.
[00:31:00] And as coaches mature and go through their career, they start to realize what you just talked about, which is I have to be able to give up some of that responsibility and delegate some of those tasks that I might have done myself earlier in my career, because then you get more buy-in you get more ownership, whether it’s from the players, whether it’s from your staff, whatever it may be.
So when you first started looking at being able to do that, how hard was that or what was your process for. Maybe internalizing or thinking about how you had to delegate in order to make your program a success.
Jason Mays: [00:31:35] A lot of times you have to, you have to flip how you look at the roles you have as a coach.
And what I mean by that is put yourself in a player shoes. And, and so if you’re going to run a certain offense and put yourself in a player shoes and okay, what would I think of this offense? And a lot of times just sitting, just like this doesn’t make any sense, you know [00:32:00] as a, Hey, as a new head coach or as a young coach, I think this is what you were alluding to earlier.
But I think a lot of young coaches and a lot of new head coaches feel, they have to prove that they’re right. And so that’s where the control comes in, that they don’t want to give up because they feel if they give it up, it is a sign that they don’t know what they’re doing. And the eventually you learn that the exact opposite is true.
When you give players leeway to figure things out on their own, without you giving them all the answers or giving the, you know, you give them control. That’s when trust is earned and trust is everything. We do something here at blazer. That’s really cool. And I never planned on doing this. But there’s times I probably do this five to seven times a season where it could be a war we’re not playing well, or it can also be where we are playing well, but in a [00:33:00] game, I’ll give a certain player, the timeout, and I’ll tell my staff to get out of there.
I said, let’s, let’s let them have it. So we’ve got a player who’s going to be senior, the Sinead Cole Villers and you know, he’s got division one offers and good player. There’s times to say, Cole, you got, you got the Tom out. And he, you know, at first he was like, you serious now. It’s like, okay, I got ya. And he’ll go in and, and they’re listening to their peer, but I mean, that’s given up control.
I mean, you’re letting them, you’re letting a kid, you’re letting a 17 year old kid have control of a time out during a game. He CA are you kidding me? But you know, that’s just a small example of trust. I’m giving him trust and in turn, because I’ve given up control and trust in him, he’s going to trust me back, you know?
And I, I think a lot, I would have never done that as a, at Kentucky Wesleyan. When I was a first time head coach, I would have never done that. When I was a young assistant at Georgetown college, I yelled too much. [00:34:00] I gave myself headaches, every practice because of my intensity and my just. Just raw emotion.
And at the end of the day, it was because I wanted the players to hear my voice. So I could prove to them that I knew what I was talking about. I was prepared and I was right. And you know what, players don’t really care if you’re right or not. They just want to know that you care period, you know? So that’s just something that, you know, you could sit here and you could talk about, but as a coach, you’ve got to go through that, that journey of self discovery yourself and get to that point.
And we, we all, we all have different DNA. So, you know, we’re all different as coaches. But as I age, I realized that you know, micromanaging really doesn’t work too well.
Mike Klinzing: [00:34:47] It’s really hard, I think to reflect on that when you’re young and you don’t have that perspective. And I think as you get older and you get more experience and you come to realize that, as you said, I don’t have [00:35:00] to be right.
I’ve already proved myself. And I think part of it when we’re young and I know I can speak to this for sure that when I was a young coach, you felt like you want it to be good, but you didn’t even really necessarily know what that even looked like. At least I didn’t. And as confident as I was as a player, the transition for me going to.
Coaching wasn’t that it wasn’t that easy. And I don’t know if I didn’t have the right. I don’t know if role models is the right word, but I didn’t have somebody that kind of sat me down and helped me. My first job as an assistant coach, I was with two older coaches, a guy who was a legend here in the state of Ohio, rich voyeurs, who was close to the end of his career.
And then there was another assistant coach who was also far, far older than me and those two guys were kind of focused on their varsity team and they helped me along a little bit. But I guess I always felt like I was maybe not as confident [00:36:00] as I could have been in. Conversely, so then I’m always having to, as you said, always having to prove myself.
And so then I, I think that when you talk about being able to delegate, I didn’t realize what. That ability to delegate look like until I became an assistant coach for the varsity team at the school where I teach now underneath Phil Schmoke, who we’ve had on the podcast. He’s a head coach at Twinsburg now, but Phil just was fantastic as a head coach.
And he gave me some of those responsibilities, like what you talked about, where he’d step out and he’d say, all right, Mike, you take this drill or Mike, you take this time out. Or Mike, I’ve got a meeting after school with such and such a parent or with an administrator you take the first half hour practice.
And there’s times looking back on it where I know that he just stepped out, not because he needed to really step out because he was just kind of giving me that responsibility and helping me build credibility with players. And that’s not easy to do again when your name is the one that’s in the paper, my name was never going to be in the [00:37:00] paper as an assistant coach, win, lose, whatever the pressure wasn’t on me.
It was on him. And I think as head coaches, we have to be able to, you have to come to accept that. And then when you do that, frees you up to be able to delegate that responsibility, like you’ve talked about for sure. All right. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between coaching and college coaching in high school.
What’s the same, what’s different about the two experiences?
Jason Mays: [00:37:30] Well, you can’t recruit in high school at least public high school. You know, that’s a whole other podcast. Well, we, we are we’re joke. We’re laughing about it, but here, here’s what I mean in college. If you can’t recruit, you’re not gonna win games.
May, it’s just recruiting is the lifeblood of any college program. I don’t care for you’re at a non-school non-athletic scholarship school. You still have to recruit talent, you know, and [00:38:00] it’s, it’s so important. It’s so important. And, you know, I was talking to somebody during the NCAA tournament this year.
I think it was some of my assistant coaches and, you know, you’re watching, you’re watching you know, TBS or true TV or whatever or whatever channel, you know, all those games are on at the, in the first two weeks of the NCAA tournament. You just flip them back and forth and you’re watching these teams play.
And it’s just a culmination of all these efforts, but it all started with recruiting. No. I mean, somebody identified a kid, somebody developed a relationship with that kid, and then they, they worked at, and, and recruiting is an art and a science. You have to be organized in your approach and your process.
That’s the science of recruiting, but you also have to be meaningful and, and real, and the relationship development in recruiting, that’s the art and the coaches that get both aspects of that [00:39:00] are really, really great recruiters. And they end up becoming really good coaches because they ended up having good relationships with their players that really doesn’t exist in high school.
So you take that huge part of the college game and just throw it away. You know, I’m not, I’m not on the road, I’m not in airports. I mean, I can tell you the best place to take a nap in the Atlanta airport right now. I could tell you which Dunkin donuts on interstate 65 and 75 are open past midnight. I can tell you which rest area you can.
It’s okay to take a nap in and which one is not okay to take a nap in, you know, why? Cause recruiting, you know, the, the work you put in, none of that exists in high school. Okay. And we all know in high school, UT for most coaches teach as well. So you don’t, and I actually had college jobs where I had to teach, you know, some classes, but that’s not a common thing, but from a holistic standpoint, from a, you know, a 30,000 foot view standpoint, I think the things that are the same.
[00:40:00] Let’s talk about the comparisons. You’re dealing with 14 to 18 year old kids in high school. You’re dealing with 18 to 22 year olds in college. Max. Good. You know, main central Institute guys. Amy most recently was the coach at a junior college in Kansas, but it was before that was at Loyola. Marymount was at Bryant up in Rhode Island and was assistant to Beno at UNO V great gray basketball, mine, unbelievable basketball coach.
And he said, I don’t care if it’s high school or college. It is you realize that your job depends on the consistent behavior of if I’m a high school coach, 14, 18 year old kids. If I’m a college coach, your job depends on the consistent behavior. 18 to 22 year old kids. And you realize whether the 14 to 18 or 18 to 22, it is consistent for those kids to behave inconsistently.
So good luck with that, you know? And so that’s the same, I mean, they’re still figuring things out in high school, they haven’t left their home. They’re still dependent [00:41:00] and college they’ve left their home. They’ve gained some independence, but they don’t know what to do with that dependents for the most part, at least for the first year or so.
So there there’s all kinds of nuances and how you mentor the 14 to 18 year old high school kid versus how you mentor the 18 to 22 year old college kid. Basketball wise. It’s an interesting question as well. I think. Simplicity is his genius in basketball, but there’s different ways of being simple in college.
I mean, you can do some more things in college and you can high school. My first year coaching high school, I had way too much stuff in offensively way too much. And we, we, we, we didn’t do anything great now. My play sheet is a fourth of what it was three years ago. Defensively, we don’t do we pressure, you know, we were making a man 95% [00:42:00] of the time we try and go on into but we do man to man pressure principles out of that.
We press some, but that’s it, I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re pretty much simple. We, we don’t allow middle, we force everything in and you can, that’s the same in college or high school. It just, you have to teach it a little bit more simply in high school. The other thing is and I’m still not great at this.
I, I’m not very good at figuring out I’m not, I want to be a better freshman and JV coach right now. I, I haven’t got the rhythm that I wanted to have as making sure that my freshmen and my JV kids develop that’s something because I never had to do that in college. You know, in high school you know, you’ve got three teams, you’ve got a freshman team, at least we do in Kentucky, a freshmen team.
You have a JV team, some of the freshmen play on the JV team. Okay. And then you have a varsity team and there may be some freshmen kids that play on a varsity and JV, and there may be some JV [00:43:00] kids play also on the varsity. So you’ve, you know, we try to have. A focus on player development at those younger age levels on the freshmen and the JV teams this year, throw it all away because of COVID it was all a mess, but I’m still learning how to do the best job I can with my freshmen and JV kids.
That’s one of the things I’m going to take a deep dive into this summer and figuring out, okay, what am I not doing well, what am I doing well? And how can I make that the experience of those kids better in our program, because you never have to worry about that in college.
Mike Klinzing: [00:43:36] Do those teams practice? Do you practice those teams at the same time?
They all have different practice slots.
Jason Mays: [00:43:40] How do you guys do it different? What it depends on your numbers. But our PRI our freshmen always practiced separately. And the majority of their practice is skill development, which is why our two youngest coaches on staff are very good skill development guys.
For that reason, they coach the freshmen team and the JV will [00:44:00] have a two year last year. They had separate practices this year. They did because the, most of the kids that started on JV or also on our varsity. So they were going to be in that proxy. Anyhow. So it, I think it depends on your numbers, a larger school.
We have 940 kids at Ashlynn blazer. If I’m at a school that has 2,500 kids, I Oh yeah. All three practices are probably separate because you’re probably going to have a dedicated JV team with not much crossover on the varsity team at a school that size. So it just depends based on your numbers, but so schematically, I think you’ve got to keep things simpler in high school.
And but I’m going to tell you one thing here on that note, high school coaching is way better now when I was a college coach and I would speak at clinics and I would recruit kids, I always said the lip service of man. We love high school coaches. You guys do great. Now let me tell you something.
Now, if I was a college coach, now I have a [00:45:00] totally different respect for high school coaches. Totally different high school coaches are unbelievable. You’ve got, you’ve got, you don’t know what you’re going to have from one year to the next. So you’ve got to figure out what you, what are you doing schematically on the floor?
What are you doing? Personnel wise? How are you changing rhythm and a game based on the kids that you have in your program that you have no control over it, just based on one of their addresses. You know, whereas in college you can recruit kids to a system or you can go recruit the best and then change your system to who you recruit.
So, I mean, high school coaches, man, it’s very pure and Manor. Some really good coaches in Kentucky at the high school level. Unbelievable coaches, Mike.
Mike Klinzing: [00:45:48] Yeah. There’s no doubt. I think when you, when you look at, when you look at coaches that I don’t care what level you can, you can start in the NBA and you go all the way down to second or third [00:46:00] grade, and you just see some coaches that are meant for the level where they coach.
And they’re great coaches at the level where they are, and that’s a high school coach. That’s a college coach, that’s an NBA coach. And I’m convinced that if some of those coaches could be successful at any level, some of those coaches are just so ideally suited for. That particular age of kid or player, like you mentioned it before, it’s different to mentor an 18 to 22 year old than it is a 14 to 17 year old.
It’s a different way of interacting. There’s different expectations. There’s different things that needs to be done needed to be done. Some people can adapt to both groups. Some people might be much better served at one level or the other, and everybody has to find their niche. But I think the point that you’re making is there is great coaching at every single level of the game.
And I think that sometimes we get caught up [00:47:00] in the best coaches are the ones at the highest levels of the game. And I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. And I know you’re saying the same thing that that’s not true. I think about some of the guys that we’ve had on the show here, that coach at the division three level that nobody outside of their immediate.
Geographical region probably has even heard of. And those are guys are some of the best coaches in the country when it comes to X’s and O’s, and dealing with players and building relationships and all the things that we talk about today that are important to great coaching. So when you think about being a coach that can have that kind of success at whatever level it is, and you’ve obviously been at the college level and you’ve been at the high school level, and you talked about some of the differences between the two up until this point, what’s something that you love about high school basketball.
That was not a part of your college basketball [00:48:00] experience.
Jason Mays: [00:47:58] You get to see all their first moments. When you, when you coach a college kid, you, you didn’t see his first dunk. When you coach a college kid, you, you weren’t there. When he got his driver’s license. When you coach a college kid, you weren’t there.
When he had his first date, when you coach a college kid, you weren’t there to ask him how prom was, you know, when you coach a college kid he there’s just so many those college kids have already had those, those aha moments, those first moments, high school kids, man, you get to, you get to witness those.
You get to see them grow up. And so like we do some little corny things. Like I always post pictures of kids when they get their driver’s license standing next to the car. It’s a big moment. I mean, Mike, do you remember when you got your driver’s license? I bet you do. It’s a big moment. Big moment. So. You know, I don’t know if you ever done Mike or Jason.
I don’t know if you ever dunked, but I know you remember the first time you dunked…
Mike Klinzing: [00:48:57], I don’t, I don’t, I wish [00:49:00] I did, but I wish I did.
Jason Mays: [00:49:02] You know, you get to see all those moments and you get to, Oh, you get to see them at the high school level. You get to see them, thank, they know all, have all the answers.
And then you get to see them realize that they didn’t have a clue what they were doing. You know, and they’re, they’re more open to being corrected at the college level, man, and even, and this is, this is worse at the highest levels of college to the higher level. You go the worst. This is manners, just a lot more entitlement.
Because you’re dealing with kids that have always been the best or been told that they’re the best. And, you know, the egos are one of the reasons why they’re successful is because of their ego. But man, you’ve got to manage all that as an, you know, from an individualized standpoint. And it takes away from the team concept at the high school level, you know, you can really focus a whole lot more on the collective [00:50:00] unit of a team and not get bogged down.
And this, you know, individual’s personality and this individual’s discipline issues and this individual’s academic issues that take away from the team. So I tell you what, you know, now in high school, Mike, you have to deal with parents a lot more. Which I think if, if done transparently and you communicate early and often set clear expectations is a wonderful thing.
Don Meyer always said, you know, parents are key. And so I think we do a good job of that here. Now. I’m not saying every parent we’ve had has been happy. I mean, you know, parents are emotional when it comes to babies and our planning time, we all know that. Okay. But you got to manage it in college. You didn’t have to really worry about deal with any parents.
And that’s a big difference too. I mean, you get a parent that comes in boiling hot over plant time. Mon hearing, you have a scholarship back, see you later, you know, you pay for school, you know, I mean, in [00:51:00] high school, you can’t either. You, you owe the parent more than that because they’re still active in, in, in that child’s life.
But, and even dealing with, with, you know, the pain, you know, you know that a kid, we have kids that come from great families that have taught them really good decision-making skills in our program. I know we’re blessed because we just got great families in our program. So when I get them, I get to supplement that a little bit from you know, through basketball.
You know, and their parents trust me to do that in the right way and college. A lot of times, you know, I can’t tell you how many kids that we had that didn’t have great family backgrounds. And so you were sort of that follow father figure or big brother figure for the first time in that kid’s life and high school, you know, at least in our program was a lot more solid from a family background.
So there’s different dynamics for sure, but you get to see all the first moments, man. It’s pretty cool. You know, we got, [00:52:00] we got a really good player. We’ve got a point guard. It’s his names, his name is Collin Porter. He’s really good. He’s a class of 23 kid. And you know, we got another guard named Cole.
Villers a, is going to be a senior, another guard named Ethan Sellers is going to be a senior and all three of these kids have girlfriends now. And, you know, it’s just my wife and I, we, we enjoy sitting back and asking them about their dates and, and another nether even going on double dates, you know?
And it’s just cool, man. It’s, it’s neat in college. You don’t get to do all that. All right. So have
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:32] those kids, have they grown up together in the community and played together since they were in elementary school? Cause I always think that, especially when you’re talking about public school basketball, that that’s one of the things that if your high school coach is involved in the youth program and those kids have grown up playing together, you’re able to develop such a comradery.
And there’s just this feeling of we’re, we’re a Torah team before we even are a [00:53:00] team. If that makes sense. Whereas in college, you’re kind of having to rebuild every year. You lose your seniors and guys come back and I know it’s the same thing in high school, but when you’re in that public school environment where kids.
I’ve had the opportunity to grow up and play together from the time that are in elementary school. I just think it, it fosters that, that team feeling and that feeling of being connected. Do you see that on a high school level there in Ashland?
Jason Mays: [00:53:24] Yes. And here’s why our, our, you know, our, our situation is going to be a little unique from most everything in our school system is linear.
And what I mean by that is there’s five elementary schools that feed into one middle school. That one middle school feeds into one high school. So as the basketball coach, I I’d say it could be said if I was a football coach, a baseball coach. Okay. You, you have an impact. You have, you have the ability to influence the Ashton youth basketball league players that start when they’re first graders all the way up to they come to high school.
So that that’s a cool thing. Last [00:54:00] year, we were 33 and Oh, we finished the season undefeated. Right. Number one, number two, depending on what poll you look at and Kentucky, and never got a chance to see if we could win a state championship. As a COVID four of our starters grew up sad, fifth grade, I think they had all played together.
So there was a synergy there that trumped anything I could do schematically anything. I did schematically anything. I did X and O wise, anything. I did execution wise, anything. I did practice supplemented the bio rhythms, if you will, that they already have with one another. And you can’t teach that you can’t coach that you can’t.
It’s just, when you, when you see it, it’s a wonderful thing. I think that’s one of the things when you watch these AAU tournaments that you don’t see any of that. You know, cause you got kids just showed up on the weekend to play a game to hopefully, you know, do well, get, get 22 and 20 in front of a college coach.
You know, there there’s no [00:55:00] synergy, there’s no roles being, being defined and played on a few teams. The, this past year’s team we didn’t have as much of that, but we’ll be, but because of this year’s team and the growth process they went through, we ended up being 2205, went to the final four and our state tournament.
Next year, we’ll be close. We’ll be better because of the team that won the state championship this year Highlands high school in Fort Thomas, North in Northern Kentucky Fort Thomas, Kentucky those kids all grew up playing together, you know So I, I think that th that is a tremendous strength teams that have always played together.
They are hard to beat because they are so together, you know, and it’s, it’s sorta hard to put a metric on that, but you know, when you see it,
Mike Klinzing: [00:55:48] so how do you structure that youth basketball program? To make sure that you’re fostering exactly what you just said.
Jason Mays: [00:55:57] Well, that’s a great question. I think a lot of high [00:56:00] school coaches need to explore that.
I was fortunate enough when I was out of coaching. One of the things I did as a volunteer in a volunteer capacity was I served on the board and Vishy was the chairman of the board of Georgetown Scott County, parks and recreation. And we, you know, I was part of a baseball league. It had almost 750 kids and, you know, Scott, Kenny, youth basketball and baseball and softball and soccer and football.
So, you know, you really get to learn about youth sports and the organization of youth sports. And that was, that was really good for me. Now fast forward to 20, you know, 20, 21, I’m a high school coach in Ashley, Kentucky. Let me tell you some of the things we just did my first year here, I didn’t want to rock the boat.
So I just sorta observed and, and watch what had already existed. And we had a very strong and have a very strong youth program because we had committed adults that were running it again, guiding it that had played at Ashland [00:57:00] that had graduated from Ashland and, and they wanted to leave a legacy to the younger generation.
And make sure that they enhance their experience coming up through the ranks. So it was a beautiful thing. What we just did is we we, I don’t know the right word to use here. We reorganized our board. Okay. I thought we had too many coaches on our board at that. I thought we needed more parent volunteers on our board because during the season what’s a coach focusing on, I was focusing on his team, you know, we need, we need more parents that are volunteering their time that are putting time and effort in to, you know, help them run, run early.
So we reorganized our board. We’re in the process of redoing and redrafting our bylaws for our 501C3. And getting all that cleaned up. We have our school district renovated put about $800,000 into an old gym [00:58:00] cuddle alumni gym. That was the old Ashland high school gym. And they renovated that gym and our youth AYB L just spent $16,000 on new back boards, adjustable back boards and REMS for that facility.
So now we can, we can host tournaments there of all age groups and that’s sort of our new hubs. So these young kids have a place to call home and we. I have increased our enrollment numbers even during a COVID year, this year. And AYB we had the same amount of numbers as we did last year, pre COVID, which was out that tells me that next year, our numbers are going to be the best they probably I’ve ever been.
So the more kids we have participating, I think is a good thing. We’re growing our girls aspect of that. I think that’s important. And I just think you have to be present. You have to, you have to take, but when you, when you have to take a role, but you don’t have to be in charge of everything, that’s key, don’t you?
You’re the [00:59:00] local basketball coach at the high school. You know, don’t be in charge of everything. Don’t dictate everything. Cause you’re going to get burned out and people falling. You’re going to get burned out from following you. Okay. And something’s going to slip because you’re not going to have the capacity, the channel capacity to make sure it goes right.
You’re going to be, you know, you just, you, you not. So get a bunch of people on board that, that want to do the right thing, want to invest in kids and then get out of their way and, and, and just be present and be available, but then go focus on your team because if our team is playing in the state tournament and it makes it to the final four, or if all our team is 33 and Oh, that is the best thing that we can do to motivate a seven year old, to be a good basketball player.
He must play for the tomcats. You know what I’m saying? But if I’m going 15 and 15 every year, and, but I’m going, and I’m down there and I’m dealing with, with drama over, you [01:00:00] know, this coach, you know, this referee, you know, nobody wins in that. So, you know, get the right people, not to borrow a line from John Gordon here, but get the right people on the bus.
Get the, get them in the right seats and then get out of their way and watch it flourish. But you gotta realize what you’re accountable and responsible for, you know, make sure that you’re, you know, you have integrity on your board, make sure that the money is being handled properly. Find alternative sources of revenue off season tournaments, AAU tournaments, youth leagues, adult leagues, church leagues all run through your youth basketball league and and just be there, man.
Be present. Have your team handing out trophies on championship Sunday and you know, get up in there and referee again, I coach I coach a team. You know, I coach my daughters here. We do it by elementary school. So I coach my daughters. The Hager wild cats last year was a second third [01:01:00] grade team, you know, get in there and coach a team.
We do coaching clinics for our coaches there, nothing major, but just be present, but get out of the way and let good people spend their time and talent on making your league strong. Don’t micromanage it. I think that’s key.
Mike Klinzing: [01:01:18] Yeah. You just hit on two things right there at the very end that I was going to ask you about one is, do you get your varsity players involved in the program?
Which to me, I always think is critical. When you start talking about, Hey, we go 33 and Oh, and there’s nothing stronger that makes a, seven-year-old want to be part of the program. I think there’s that. And then I think the other piece of it is they have to see the players as human beings that they can look up to.
If they have a relationship with those kids, now they want to come to the games. Now they want to be like those kids. And eventually that leads to them. Working hard so that they can be a part of the program. So to me, that’s key. And then the second thing that you talked about was running, putting out a clinic and just how you help again, not run [01:02:00] the whole thing, but just how you facilitate to make sure that the things that you want being taught to your players at those younger levels are being, are being taught.
And again, it’s just like, you talked about simplicity going from college to high school, there’s simplicity and going from high school to a youth league, but there are, I’m sure some things that you would prefer to have those kids being taught as opposed to some other things that we’ve all seen. Anybody who’s been at an AAU tournament have seen a lot of.
You know, questionable coaching. Let’s just put it that way in terms of trying to teach the game the right way and to prepare kids, to be able to play high school basketball. So I just thought it was interesting again, that right. As you were wrapping up the answers to the question, you answered the two questions that I was going to have for you going forward.
Let’s jump ahead from the youth leagues to what you do with your varsity team. And tell me a little bit about how you organize your program in terms of what are the [01:03:00] standards that you put in place that you believe need to be there in order for your teams to be successful. Do you have a set set of four standards?
Do you, how do you, how do you change that at year by year? Just how do you organize your
Jason Mays: [01:03:14] program? I, I think coaches can’t be scared to have a mission statement for their program. And ensure that they live by it. Now we don’t, we don’t preach it from the hilltops, but our kids know it. They have to know it because it’s on, it’s all a big wall wrap as we walk into the locker room every day.
And it can be summed up by this here at Ashland blazer. We want our kids to have confidence, composure and class confidence, to obtain what they set out for in life composure to realize that adversity doesn’t stop you from succeeding. It just makes you, it should increase your desire to succeed. And then [01:04:00] class, no, one’s going to remember the thing that happened.
They’re always going to remember how you reacted to the thing that happened. So, you know, that, that, that’s our mission statement. And our three key words are confidence composure in class. And then we break that down. You know, we have a vision for a program is called the, the culture champions and it starts everything from understanding our mission.
Okay. And then our standards of behavior everything from the tone reflects the heart. So our language how we treat women. How we treat our teachers, how we treat our peers, how we treat other fellow student athletes, how we treat our parents how we treat officials. We talk about how we treat officials.
You know, and our vision statement is we want our players to have championship experiences while. They have personal development. So it’s championship experiences, personal development. And that’s why we incorporate a lot of last year was Dr. Kevin Elko, a sports psychologist, and we did his virtual [01:05:00] training and really sort of learned about language and, and talking to ourselves and our culture and our, our language that we use in our, in our, in our program dictates our culture.
This year, we did a Kevin Eastman’s series. And so we all, we, we always pick something out and we do leadership development or, or we’re active with our team chaplain and devotions and things of that nature. And then, you know, as, as you get closer to the picture, a triangle or a pyramid, as you get closer to the peak of that, I think you start to see a player led program.
And that’s where, you know, the culture transfers from the upperclassmen to the lowerclassmen. And we’re seeing that. And when you get to that point, that’s when you start having a culture of champions. And so we’ve been here three years as a staff and we’ve made a state that we’ve won our region in Kentucky.
There’s 16 regions. Thus the winner of each region goes to the, the KHSA then the, the [01:06:00] infamous KJ KHSA sweet 16, keep in mind in Kentucky, there’s no classes and basketball. So it’s all, you know, the smallest can be the biggest and vice versa. And we’ve been to, we want to region on each of the last three years and went to the sweet 16 first year, we won a game and made it to the elite eight last year, we were 33 and O and didn’t have a chance because of COVID this year.
We want to region and finished 22 and five and made it to Saturday morning which is the final four. So, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, I think we’re getting there. And we’re doing things the right way. Obviously it helps when you have talent. But so forget about the talent. It’s the culture.
And I know that’s an overused word in coaching right now, but it’s the environment. It’s the locker room. It’s the bus trips. It’s the parent meetings. It’s the strength training sessions in June and July all that stuff. And you have to be consistent and it all goes back to making sure that these kids are learning what confidence, composure and classmates.
[01:07:00] Mike Klinzing: [01:07:00] So how do you recognize when kids are living up to those things that you want them to do? Do you have a formal way of recognizing kids who live up to those three words? Is it an informal thing? How intentional are you about recognizing when you see a kid. Exhibiting composure or you see them handling a defeat with class, or when you see them doing something in the school that reflects your culture, how do you go about wrecking?
Jason Mays: [01:07:32] Well, I mean, you know, you know this Mike, I mean, when, when you talk about standards you are what you accept. Okay. So our standard here needs to be a championship standard. So if you are, and this is just my opinion. Okay. The, probably a lot of coaches disagree with this, that rightfully so they’re come from different high school backgrounds, coaching backgrounds.
But if you’re [01:08:00] stopping to acknowledge and reward a kid for living up to your standard, I don’t know if that’s the right way to be because. Your standard is exactly that to still align from saving your standard is a standard. It is what it is. It takes what it takes. You know, you, you expect that. And, and so they should see each other, you know, our freshmen should see our seniors or sophomores or juniors, and was, you know, our, our managers sincere players and our players should see our managers all living up to the standard of having confidence, composure in class, doing things the right way, how you do anything is how you do everything, you know you know, having unity over you know, over self, they, if they see each other doing that, They’ll all, they’ll all buy in.
So I don’t have to stop and say, Hey, Hey Cole, you did a great job today. Being nice to a [01:09:00] student in your math class, your teacher does not may stop and say, Hey, I got a nice email for your math teacher. You know, said you help the student, you know, good job. I’m proud of it, you know, privately. But I don’t, I don’t do it because we expect that that’s our standard, you know?
So I think you’ve got to be careful singling guys out for doing the right thing that you expect them to do. Anyhow, that’s just my opinion. Now what that creates is what do you do with the kids that aren’t doing the right thing? You know? And so we don’t have a book of rules. I don’t have a notebook. I, I’m not a notebook guy.
You know, Don Meyer. I’ve seen all his notebooks, I’ve got them and I just, I couldn’t keep up with it. All right. Are we got one rule? Don’t do something that’s going to require an apology to your team later. That’s our one rule. And I also take discipline issues all on a per player per case basis, because kids are different, man.
You know, you, you, [01:10:00] you, can’t just, just over Gerald generalize. You know, this kid may live with his grandparents and have trouble getting to practice on time and it’s not his fault. Okay. Versus this kid, he’s getting to practice on time. Cause he’s leaving his girlfriend’s house too late and he’s in his brand new car.
He just got, you know, they’re, those are different kids in different situations. So I think as a high school coach, you have to be careful with just lumping all your kids into one. You know, here’s our roles, who’s our standards. You have to take everything on a case by case basis. And our one role is don’t do anything.
That’s going to require an apology to your teammates later.
Mike Klinzing: [01:10:36] Yeah, it’s very simple. And clearly it’s maybe I don’t know, hard to define or easy to define depending on how you look at it, but you know what, when you see it, and I think that that’s a great way to be able to set things up. And as you said, I like how you answered my question about recognizing kids who are living up to the culture by saying that it’s what you expect.
What’s what we expect you to do. And I think that [01:11:00] there’s something to be said for that, whether you’re a teacher. I think about that from a parent perspective, there are certain things that I expect my kids to do because I expect them to do it because it’s what we do and it’s the right thing to do. And I’m not going to stop and praise them every single time that they do.
What’s expected of them. So to me, that makes a ton of sense. And I can see where once you get that rolling that you now have, as you said, that leads to. Having a player led team where the upperclassmen enforce that standard with the younger kids. And everybody just comes to know that, look, if you’re going to be a part of our program, this is what you’re going to do.
And it just, it’s just the way it is because it’s been that way. And everybody who’s a part of it, enforces it. And if you’re not going to be live up to that, then you’re not going to be a part of what it is that we’re doing. So let’s jump from sort of the, the [01:12:00] culture piece of it. Let’s talk a little bit of basketball quick before we get towards the end of our time here.
How do you put together when you’re thinking about day to day, putting together a practice plan? Just tell me a little bit about your practice planning methods and how you make sure that you’re maximizing the practice time that you have your
Jason Mays: [01:12:16] kids out on the floor. I spend two to three hours on every practice, just planning.
That’s the truth. I’m meticulous to the minute. And it’s, it’s every, everything is planned out now. There’s, there’s more days in than not that I don’t get to something or I go over on a drill or I get through a drill quicker. But I spend early in the season, two to three hours in February, I’m, I’m spending about an hour to an hour and a half just planning practice on my laptop, on my Excel spreadsheet and, you know making sure that we’re, we’re, we’re doing what we should do.
I think it’s important. I mean, listen, we had 53 practices this year in a shortened season [01:13:00] due to COVID. And so. If you knew Mike, that you had 53 opportunities to become good at something, why would you not make sure that you’re going to really focus on each of those 53 opportunities? Because if that’s all you had, then by golly, I gotta be sharp when I’m done with those 53 opportunities.
You know? So I think practices is, I mean, I enjoy planning for practice. I enjoy practice actually more than I do the games players don’t and I did when I was a player, but as a coach, Practices are everything, man, everything, we feel more practices. We, we we have one of those huddle focus cameras now, so we can watch our practices or players who watch practices.
And I don’t film everyone, but I do early on in the year. But we’re a two hour, two 15 three fourths of the year practice. You know, we will practice for two hours, two hours, 15 minutes for three fourths of the year. And then this is something I’ve, [01:14:00] I’ve changed as a high school coach in February.
I I’m, I’m going about an hour and a half hour and 45 minutes. But about 60% of our practices are defense. Mainly half-court man, Amanda, I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to win a championship, you’re going to have to stop people and have it with you have court management defense at the end of the day.
And then about 30% is going to be working on offensive execution. And then about 10% is going to be special situation, side obese out of bounds, under rebound you know short clock stuff. things of that nature. But. You know, and it also depends on your team. You know, like next year, we’re going to have a bunch of guys back.
I mean, you lose two guys. And you know, one, one, one was her backup point guard. Other one was, was our, our center. So they’re, they’re gonna know what what’s going on. So there’s, you’ve got a brand new team. You gotta, you gotta spend, you gotta do practices differently. So it depends year to year, but I spent a lot of time on practice, a lot of time on practice.
We do [01:15:00] individual breakdowns. And it’s and it also depends on where you are in the year. You know, my October 15th practice is going to be a lot different than my February 15th practice. So we don’t spend a lot of time on opponent game prep. In practice we do film wise, we do scattering report wise.
I’m very meticulous on those two aspects in game prep, but in our practice time, it’s, it’s mainly spent on us even day before a game kind of stuff. It’s mainly spin on us.
Mike Klinzing: [01:15:30] All right. I want to come back to that. I want to ask you something about the defensive piece of it. And then I’ll ask you a little bit about the scouting report in the film with your kids.
When you’re working on defensive things during practice. What does that, what does that look like? Is that breakdown, drills, that small sided games is that five on five where the focus of what you’re doing is on the defensive side of the ball. Just explain maybe just a basic philosophy of what you do when
Jason Mays: [01:15:55] you’re working defensively.
Well, man, a man, half half-court is where we hang our hat. [01:16:00] So we, we want to choke all reversals. We believe that if you choke a ball reversal, it takes away the oxygen to an offense. It Smothers it. We don’t want any metal penetration from the wing or the corner. We want everything to go to the short corner, not baseline short corner, you know, we don’t want to give up the baseline.
We want it. We want to cut it off, whether it’s one-on-one or whether it’s from exaggerated help side. But we don’t want anything going to the middle. So our closeout stances are different. It takes a while. If you have a new team and our defensive system, they’re not going to be very good at closing out that way until January.
It takes a long time. Cause you’re breaking up years and years of, of habit. So our closeouts are important. Do a lot of close out drills and then we do a lot of help drills. And yes, all yes, to all that, you know, we’ll start with two on two, we’ll start with then we’ll go to three on three and four and four and five on five.
But you know, our two on two drill may be, we do a neat little drill where it’s just two on onto the guy that doesn’t [01:17:00] have. The ball has to stay outside to three. And so, you know, you’re, you’re just focused on basic one-on-one close outs and, and help site on the drive. And then when he kicks it out, you close out on that and the other guys getting off the ball, you know, w and, you know, we do a thing called drop Joe.
It’s a three on three drill where you’re working on your help side rotation, your dropdown, weak side rotation. And then they skip out, you know, what we call X and out and getting your close outs and talking and communicating. Then you obviously have your shell, Joe shell drill. I do very little of I do a one man shell where they got to go through five different positions of you know, we deny our shoulders in the passing lane.
That’s a hard, we deny we don’t, we don’t give early help from deny. We give early help from what we would call help one. So if the balls at the top of the key and you got a wing and you got a guy on a corner on the left side of the floor, and they got penetrates to the left, I’m not giving early help from the wing.
I’m given early help from from the corner and help one. And I may not [01:18:00] even give early help there because I believe at the high school level, we’re gonna make you take a tough two outside the backboard frame. We’re not going to let you have a bailout pass to the guy. Just I gave early help from Y I’m gonna make you, I’m gonna make you finish your shot.
One-on-one you know, you’re not going to have that kick out, which is different. It’s very different. A little bit of Chris beard there, a lot of max. Good. You know, I know I’m a Mexico guy, but I mean, that’s where I got that from I’m old school, but Bob Huggins. You know, and but I, I love watching Texas tech, Mark Adams, I think is a genius and men and half-court man to man defense, but you know, no token, all rebel reversals, denial, wing entries shoulders in the passing lane, no early help from the knob denied position no middle penetration exaggerate your help to where we want to be a ball side lane line.
That’s all for over. We are. And so we just draw that because that’s, it’s, it’s, it’s hard, but it [01:19:00] causes the other team to react to us. They become reactionary because of our actions. And that’s, that’s the name of the game. So how,
Mike Klinzing: [01:19:10] How do you teach defensive communication?
Jason Mays: [01:19:13] You do that in your drills.
And, but here’s the thing. We say a few things that part of our languages speak the obvious. Okay. Speak the obvious. Think about that for a minute. What do you see? Talk what you see, speak the obvious. I got a ball. I got your back balls in the corner. You know, I got help. So I’m dropping down, dropping down, dropping down, you know, Hey, head screen, right.
I I’m hedging. I’m headed. I’m trapping. I’m trapping. You know what? Just speak the obvious, speak the obvious. So, you know, in every drill. You know, you has its own language. So if I do a drop drill, we’re talking about making, you know, we’re going to say, I got your back. I got your back. And so he’s forcing [01:20:00] the dribble to the short corner and he knows he can be aggressive in that because he’s hearing his buddy saying I’ve got your back.
So if he does give up a straight line, drive helps there. And then the guy is confident in helping on that because he hears his buddy saying, if you go, I got you. If you go, I’m dropping. If you go, I’m dropping. If you go, I’m dropping, he hears him. So what it does, it builds confidence all the way back to the guy that’s on the ball.
Think about that.
Mike Klinzing: [01:20:32] That makes a ton of sense
Jason Mays: [01:20:33] Communication. So speak the obvious. And then if you do a shell drill, you’re calling out your position, your calling ball, you know, and you have main staples. Like, you know, when it got picked up his dribble, a lot of people go dead we go, you know, and that is instant.
We’re already in the passing lanes and we don’t want any bail passes. So you know, we’re always young kills, three stops in a row, [01:21:00] stuff like that. We’ve got common language. We’re no different anybody else, but I think each drill has its own language. And that’s how I do look at it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:21:09] Yeah. That’s really key.
I think that the common language piece, and then I think the, the teaching your kids. What the drills are so that they know is that every time you go into it, you don’t have to give them an explanation of, okay, this is what we’re doing. Remember when we did this, it’s got a name, everybody knows it. And you just get so much more efficient with practice.
I wanted to go back to ask you about, you mentioned how you’re not spending necessarily a lot of time on opponents out on the practice floor, but you did say you’re spending time with the film and you’re spending time with scouting reports. So obviously you as a coach and as a coaching staff, you’re putting a lot of time into that watching film and being able to put together those reports.
How much time you actually spend with your players watching film over particular opponents. Let’s say you’re preparing for a league opponent. How much film of that league opponent are your kids actually watching? And then what does. The scouting [01:22:00] report that you give them look like how much time do you expect them to interact with that scouting report?
Jason Mays: [01:22:04] A little different on this scout report, let’s work it backwards. Scott imports going to be about 12 to 15 pages. And we don’t, we don’t give it to her players as a hundred percent for our staff. Here’s why players ain’t going rate it. They’re going to only retain about 5% of it. Okay. So I’m going to make sure I control the 5% that I need them to retain on the whiteboard and in film.
So the scout report, why do you do all the work? If you’re not going to share with your players because the players have confidence and trust in us, they see that scanner important. They know that we are prepared because they know we are prepared. They can listen. What we tell them. The second reason we do it is we got to make adjustments in a gang.
So the team that makes the best adjustments is going to be the team. That’s the most prepared. So my, my staff has got to be prepared to say, Hey, let’s do this or get ready for this after this time, are you [01:23:00] ready for this? They just scored on this. So they usually run his backdoor play. It’s sido B right here.
They’re probably going to go zone. They go, you know, because they’re prepared. Okay. Hey, that’s on this OB under right here. When the zone don’t, let’s, let’s run this play because we don’t want to enter it to the corner cause there’s gonna be trap, you know, why they’re prepared. Okay. You know, I don’t have to worry about my staff knowing, you know, in a tight game whom I found, they know.
They know, it’s almost gotten report is there’s a whole page for who to foul, you know, and, and who’s pursuing, you know, we use what we use, just play, just play solutions. It’s out there for a lot of college coaches use it that we use. That’s our scouting, that’s our scouting report template. You can do quizzes on there where you, you, you embed video from huddle and you’ll play the video, stop it and say, okay, what ha how are we playing this ball screen?
And your, your players get to answer the quiz. You know, anything that’s interactive, they’re going to do it. I mean, I mean, they’re going to be on tick-tock so why not put them on just player huddle for a little bit? [01:24:00] Right. And then on film wise edit tapes, you know, we we do a personnel breakdown first, and then we do a team breakdown and we do a defensive breakdown, special situations breakdown.
I think coaches need to spend more time scouting teams press offense you know, figuring out what a are going to do when you pressure them. I don’t think coaches at the high school level spending enough time. Scout press offense. That’s something that I think you can steal some buckets on.
, I want to know every OB they’re going to run because, you know, I think you can scheme Obie under defense and get steals. I think you can scheme side out of bounds, action defensively and get steals. Those are, those are, those are set times coming out of the ball situations where a team is going to have tendencies, know the tendencies and then take those tendencies away.
Okay. So you gotta be prepared. So we only to answer your question, our kids as a team watch about 45 minutes of film for an opponent now are good players. Cause I could see who’s watching. Who’s not on her. [01:25:00] They watch a ton of film, a ton of film on their own. And so I know they’re doing that anyhow. May our best players right now.
When we play a reasonable opponent, they’ve watched, they see all the film that we have on huddle. They’ve watched two or three games already on their own of the opponent. I mean, so I got a special team when it comes to that, but they, they know we’re highly organized. They know we spent a lot of time preparing for each opponent and because they know that we’ve got their attention.
So they’re gonna execute the game plan.
Mike Klinzing: [01:25:35] Absolutely. I don’t think that there’s any doubt that when you can have your team prepared and then when your kids are preparing on their own, just like you talked about having a player led team, and you’re not having to be there when the kids are watching film on their own and they’re diving in and they’re doing that kind of film study, then, you know, you’ve got something.
Now I promised you that we were going to try to keep it to an hour and 54 at
Jason Mays: [01:25:55] an hour.
Mike Klinzing: [01:25:56] We’re at an hour. I don’t run an hour and 29. He’s furiously texting [01:26:00] me. So I’m going to wrap it up with this final question that we’ve been wrapping up episodes with. And that is give me your biggest challenge. In the next year, let’s say.
And your biggest joy that you find from being the coach at Ashlynn blazer high school. So your biggest challenge, your biggest joy
Jason Mays: [01:26:17] biggest challenge is figure out, figuring out a way to continuously evolve this team. I’ve got w we’ve got a really special team. We’ve got, we’ve got four, maybe seven kids that’ll play at the next level in our program at different levels.
Some, some power, five, some, you know, division three. They’re all special kids. They’re all come from great families. How do I fight complacency? And find a way to, to evolve. What’s our next evolution to keep us sharp and to give us another edge that we haven’t previously had. What are [01:27:00] those details involved in that?
That’s the challenge. And then I think if I can figure that out, we’re again, I think we’re a Saturday morning and if we can be a Saturday night, which is the state championship and Kentucky, your final four Saturday morning, your state championships that same Saturday night. So when I say it’d be a Saturday morning team, that means we’re in the final four.
Okay. The best thing about here. That’s a great question to end on because I love this. I love talking about this. We’re the, we’re the, we’re the only team we can talk you to have over 2000 wins first team to reach that Mark Woodlawn team. Currently they have over 2000 wins in Kentucky high school history, which is one of the most historic high school basketball States in the country.
We have the all time wins record in the state tournament. We are number three in appearances in the state tournament which is arguably the most famous state high school state tournament in the country. We have won three state championships, played in six state championship games and our fan base is believable.
It [01:28:00] is, it is still 1965 here. When it comes to Friday night, you’re going to the game. Whether it’s football, whether it’s basketball, whether it’s baseball Friday night, you’re going to support the tomcats. That’s what you do. And you’re un-American if you don’t go, you know, and, and so our community is a, is a unique community.
Ashland is where Ashland oil you know, AK steel, Armco steel, all was right here. Those are gone now. So our community of 25,000 people here in the city of Ashland, they’re reinventing themselves. We’ve got a strong medical community. We’ve got a small thriving, small business. We’ve got a thriving, small business community.
Now, all kinds of different restaurants and small businesses are popping up. Entrepreneurs are flooding into our area and it’s a really cool place to be right now. And as our community is evolving, One of the things [01:29:00] that is a constant source of enjoyment and it’s consistent, they can, they can bet on it is Tomcat athletics is going to be there for them and their families to enjoy.
And they value that they don’t take it for granted. So many places. Now across this country, they take their local high school sports teams for granted. Attendance is attendance is down. Things are live stream. People have more things to do, not in Ashland, Kentucky, not nationally, Kentucky. They still care about it.
They still love it. Now the, the, the, the trade-off is, you know, this is one of those high school jobs where you don’t win, you’re gonna lose your job, you know, and that’s the reality. So but it’s just a great, we’ve got a great school, great administration, great school board. Just it’s it’s a great place to, to coach high school sports and raise a family.
Mike Klinzing: [01:29:53] It’s good stuff. We can all feel the passion that you have for what you’re doing and for your community and for your [01:30:00] kids coming through the microphone. And it’s great to hear, and it was a pleasure getting a chance to dig in and be able to pick your brain for an hour and a half. And I think we pulled out a lot of stuff that coaches.
Could benefit from, and again, like we said, off the top, that’s the goal was to try to be able to have a positive impact on the game of basketball. And I definitely think we did that before we get out, share how people can get in touch with you, find out more about you and your program, social media. Give me your website, give your podcast.
And then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
Jason Mays: [01:30:33] Coachmays.com is my blog. I’m very active in it now and not so active during the season for obvious reasons. CoachMays.com pod is our Twitter handle. That is the I’m sorry, the Twitter handle was CoachMayspod and want to grow that this off season.
But you can have access to our podcasts on coach mays.com and you know, my personal Twitter is coach Jay Mays, and I’m active on Twitter, [01:31:00] but I’m really encouraged people listen to the coach mays.com pod you know, it’s it, our, the mission of it, Mike is, you know, is to give high school coaches that one takeaway that’ll help make their program better today than it was yesterday.
And that’s what we strive to do without that podcast. And looking forward to an active podcasting summer.
Mike Klinzing: [01:31:22] Absolutely. Jason, cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule tonight to jump on with us. It has been a lot of fun, long overdue, and we hope that our audience enjoyed the episode.
I know that Jason and I did and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on the next one. Thanks.