Thursday, November 21, 2019

 

            


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Brenda Mayes’ Coaching Legacy Put Muscle Shoals Girls’ Sports on the Map

 

     Brenda Mayes’ road to Muscle Shoals High School was quite a winding turn from Florida and through Mississippi, but when she retired from coaching and teaching at the end of the 2014-15 school year, girls’ sports at the school was clearly on the map.
     Mayes will be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016 Monday night, March 21. The induction banquet, hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), will be at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6:30 p.m. A press conference introducing the 26th Class will be held at 5:30 at the Renaissance.
     Other members of the Class of 2016 include football coaches Richard Beverly, Tandy Gerelds and Ike Grant; basketball coaches Mike Cochran and Jerome Sanders; volleyball coach Frances Crapet; baseball coach Earl Miller; wrestling coach and official Dwight Buzbee; volleyball official Apple Kridakorn and coach/administrator Alfred Peavy, who was selected in the “old-timer” division. Peavy and Gerelds are deceased.
     Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Lindsey, who has worked with Mayes for more than 25 years, had this to say about her impact in the community.
     “Coach Mayes retired from our school system last year, but she left a legacy,” said Lindsey.  “Fortunately, I was blessed to learn from her. Watching Coach Mayes interact with students was inspiring. She not only taught them how to be successful in athletics, but she also taught them how to be successful in life.”  
      A native of Orlando, Florida, Mayes grew up in Corinth, Mississippi. She graduated from Biggersville High School in 1980, then attended Northeast Mississippi Community College on a basketball scholarship. She was named to the All-Conference team and the Junior College All-Star Team as well as the Dean’s List while at Northeast.
      After receiving her associate’s degree, she moved on to the University of North Alabama, also on a basketball scholarship, where she was a Kodak Honorable Mention All-American. She was also named to the Gulf South All-Conference Team and the NCAA Division II South Conference All-Tournament Team.
      Following graduation in 1986, she remained at North Alabama as a graduate student assistant while completing her master’s degree. She was then hired at Muscle Shoals High School where she spent her entire teaching and coaching career in Alabama. She taught at all grade levels and coached volleyball, basketball, track and softball. She also served as associate athletic director.
      Mayes’ volleyball teams won four consecutive AHSAA state championships from 1998 through 2001 and the 1993 team was runner-up.
      Other superlatives:

--11 Elite 8 state qualifiers, including seven in a row, 1997-2003.

--14 area championships, including seven in a row, 1997-2004. 10 area
              runners-up.

--13 Colbert County championships, including a nine-year streak, 1997-
             2005.  Four county runners-up.

--National Federation Coach of the Year, 2001; The Birmingham News
             
Coach of the Year, 1998; TimesDaily Coach of the Year, 2013 and
             AHSADCA Coach of the Year.

       Mayes’ basketball teams have been an Elite 8 regional qualifier once and a Sweet 16 qualifier three times. 
      Other superlatives include five area championships and five runners-up; seven Colbert County championships, including five in a row, 1990-91 through 1994-95, and seven Colbert County runners-up. She received the TimesDaily Coach of the Year in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
      Mayes has served as a basketball camp instructor/counselor at the University of Alabama, University of North Alabama, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee-Martin and Northeast Mississippi Community College. She was selected an AHSADCA All-Sports Week coach for volleyball in 1999 and basketball in 2014. She also has been a presenter for both sports, and served as Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game administrative coach since 1997-2015.
     “Coach Mayes and I worked together in several capacities for over 25 years,” Lindsey said. “During that time, I watched her become one of the most respected people in our community. Her willingness to serve where she was needed made her an exemplary employee. She was chairman of the graduation committee, chaperoned proms and dances and proctored assessments. Coach Mayes was a physical education teacher, coach, and ambassador for Muscle Shoals City Schools. Her leadership in the PE department and in our athletic program earned her the respect of students, coaches, teachers, administrators and parents.”
     Lindsey said she had many gifts including working with special needs students and Special Olympics.
     “Her genuine concern for their success and happiness was obvious to anyone who watched her communicate with special needs students,” he said.  “They performed for her because they knew she cared. Coach Mayes was a magnet for all students, and she never took the magnitude of her role for granted.  She led by example and always made time for students. Although she was an athletic director, she attended beauty pageants, band concerts, college graduations, weddings, showers and funerals for many students who weren’t athletes. Her office was full of pictures and letters sent to her by grateful students. She did what most people dream of doing. She made a difference.”
      Mayes’ influence was also felt statewide. She, along with Patty Etheridge of Fairhope, were the first female representatives on the Central Board of Control. She was the first to serve on the District 7 Board of Directors.
      She also served on the Principals’ and Athletic Directors’ Conference Round Table Panel, was a longtime member of the AHSAA State Basketball Finals All-Tournament Committee, the Volleyball Committee and AHSADCA Advisory Committee.
      In 2013 she received the Pathfinders Award from the Alabama State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
     Her induction to the AHSAA Hall of Fame will be her fifth such honor. She was previously inducted into to the University of North Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, the Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, the Northeast Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Mississippi Community College-Junior College Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
     FRIDAY:
The AHSHOF Class of 2016 series continues with installments 9 and 10 (baseball coach Earl Miller and basketball coach Jerome Sanders).

 



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