Ashland Blazer’s Jason Mays voted Courier Journal’s Boys Basketball Coach of the Year – Courier Journal

Posted: April 11, 2020 at 6:41 pm


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Courier Journal sports reporters Dominique Yates, Lucas Aulbach and Cameron Teague Robinson sit down for a roundtable discussion to talk about what life has been like without sports due to the coronavirus. Louisville Courier Journal

The son of a truck driver and a homemaker, Jason Mays says he wasnt exactly born to be a basketball coach.

But it didnt take Mays long to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.

I was 8 years old and loved basketball and shot a basketball every day in my driveway, Mays said. I eventually started charging kids 10 cents for free-throw lessons in my driveway when I was 10 years old.

Now 44, Mays has spent most of his professional life as a coach taking a six-year break to be a financial advisor and is in Year Two as the boys basketball coach at Ashland Blazer High School.

The Tomcats enjoyed an amazing 2019-20 campaign going 33-0, winning the 16th Region title and achieving a No. 2 state ranking from The Associated Press. Ashland Blazer was scheduled to face Elizabethtown in the first round of the Sweet 16, which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ashland Paul Blazer boys coach Jason Mays talks to his Tomcats during their final regular-season home game against Rose Hill. Feb. 20, 2020(Photo: John Flavell/Special to Courier Journal)

The states coaches took notice of Mays work, voting him the Courier Journals Kentucky Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

Its because of our players, Mays said. Any coach worth his salt will tell you that. Any guy who gets a Coach of the Year award, its because they had really good players. Probably had some luck along the way.

Mays received 34 votes from the 110 coaches from Kentucky who returned ballots. Males Tim Haworth was the runner-up with 21 votes, followed by Elizabethtowns James Haire (eight votes), Collins Chris Gaither (five) and Scott Countys Tim Glenn (four).

Mays is the third Ashland coach to take the CJ honor, joining George Conley (1953) and Bob Wright (1961).

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Mays arrived in Ashland in August of 2018 and says he loves the town.

If I left Ashland, within two weeks I would miss how much people love basketball in this city, he said. Its a throw-back town. They rally around their high school sports teams. Whatever I say about basketball, I could say the same thing about our football program and our baseball program and other sports. They value winning here, so you get a lot of support.

Mays was born and raised in Cincinnati and moved to Georgetown, Kentucky,in the summer of 1992 when his father got a job as a car hauler at the Toyota plant.

Mays played two seasons of basketball at Scott County under former coach Billy Ray Reynolds I wasnt very good, Mays said before graduating in 1994. Mays said he wrote letters to head coaches at every NCAA Division I and Division II school, wanting to get a head start on a coaching career as a student manager.

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He had narrowed his choices to Arizona, Indiana and Louisiana State before Happy Osborne the head coach at Georgetown College pulled him out of history class one day and took him on a trip to recruit Elkhorn Citys Todd Conley.

Mays said he had no desire to attend Georgetown before Reynolds provided some perspective.

He said, You can go to Indiana and be the best jock washer Bobby Knight ever had, or you can go to Georgetown and learn how to coach right away. Its your choice, Mays said. That resonated with me.

Mays spent five years at Georgetown, had brief stints as an assistant coach at St. Catharine and Campbellsville University after graduation and then returned to Georgetown as an assistant coach under Osborne from 2000-07. Mays son, Jayse, was born in November of 2006 and had some complications.

I panicked, Mays said. I didnt think I could work as hard and do my job and be the husband my wife needed and be the father my son needed me to be.

Mays stepped down from Georgetown in 2007 and became a financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual in Lexington. He also had a failed run at becoming a state representative in 2008.

Dumbest thing Ive ever done in my life, he said.

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He got back into coaching in 2014 at Lexington Christian, had stints at Valdosta State and Kentucky Wesleyan and then landed the Ashland Blazer job in 2018. His first team overcame a slow start, won the 16th Region and reached the Sweet 16 before falling to eventual champion Trinity in the quarterfinals.

This season, the Tomcats ranked first in the state in 3-point attempts (859), second in the state in 3-pointers made (339) and reinvigorated the Ashland community with an undefeated season. The Tomcats were led by second-team All-State pick and sophomore Cole Villers (17.1 ppg) and honorable-mention All-State pick and freshman Colin Porter (15.1 ppg).

If I was preparing against us, man, were hard to guard, Mays said. What are you going to take away? If youre going to let us shoot 3s, we had five kids that made 48 3s or more. If youre going to play tight, we have a little point guard named Colin Porter thats going to go by you and get to the rim. I dont know if anybody really figured out how to stop both options.

Mays and the entire Ashland community were excited about a chance to win the schools first state title since 1961. The coach said hes proud of how his players have handled the disappointment of not getting to play in the Sweet 16.

They cant take away 33-0, Mays said. They cant take away our district and regional championships. And they cant take away our undefeated season. Most important, they cant take away the togetherness and relationships that have been forged in our locker room this year.

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @kyhighs. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: http://www.courier-journal.com/jasonf.

1946 Bobby Laughlin, Breckinridge Training; 1947 Earle Jones, Maysville; 1948 McCoy Tarry, Brewers; 1949 Letcher Norton, Clark County; 1950 Ralph Carlisle, Lafayette.

1951 Dale Barnstable, Manual; 1952 Norton, Clark County; 1953 George Conley, Ashland; 1954 Delmas Gish, Central City; 1955 John Burr, Adair County; 1956 Bill Carter, Heath; 1957 John Bill Trivette, Pikeville; 1958 Norton, Clark County; 1959 Charlie Lampley, North Marshall; 1960 Jim Morris, Flaget.

1961 Bob Wright, Ashland; 1962 Elmer Baldy Gilb, Henry Clay; 1963 Morton Combs, Carr Creek; 1964 Gene Rhodes, Male; 1965 Bill Harrell, Shelby County; 1966 Harrell, Shelby County; 1967 Bob Fox, Earlington; 1968 Jim Richards, Glasgow; 1969 Bob Graves, Louisville Central; 1970 Gary Schaffer, Pleasure Ridge Park.

1971 Jack Upchurch, Anderson County; 1972 Ray Vencil, Elizabethtown; 1973 Bob Barlow, Bryan Station; 1974 Graves, Central; 1975 Wade Houston, Male; 1976 Richard Schmidt, Ballard; 1977 Schmidt, Ballard; 1978 Wayne Chapman, Apollo; 1979 Charles Jock Sutherland, Lafayette; 1980 Bobby Watson, Owensboro.

1981 Barlow, Bryan Station; 1982 Allen Feldhaus Sr., Mason County; 1983 Craynor Slone, Carlisle County; 1984 Gerald Sinclair, Logan County; 1985 Glenn Collie, Seneca; 1986 Feldhaus Sr., Mason County; 1987 Bobby Keith, Clay County; 1988 Keith, Clay County; 1989 Keith, Clay County; 1990 Gary French, Elizabethtown.

1991 Nolan Barger, Tates Creek; 1992 Danny Haney, Lexington Catholic; 1993 Tim Davis, Marion County; 1994 Billy Hicks, Corbin; 1995 Gary Moore, Franklin County; 1996 Curtis Turley, Greenwood; 1997 Haney, Lexington Catholic; 1998 Haney, Lexington Catholic; 1999 Ernie Simpson, Bowling Green; 2000 Jimmy Just, Iroquois.

2001 Bryce Hibbard, Male; 2002 Rodney Woods, Wayne County; 2003 Kelly Wells, Mason County; 2004 Wells, Mason County; 2005 Mike Szabo, Trinity; 2006 Buddy Biggs, Pendleton County; 2007 Billy Hicks, Scott County; 2008 Champ Ligon Jr., Bryan Station; 2009 Jason Booher, Shelby Valley; 2010 Szabo, Trinity.

2011 Wayne Breeden, Tates Creek; 2012 Allen Feldhaus Jr., Madison Central; 2013 Feldhaus Jr., Madison Central; 2014 Scott Ruthsatz, Covington Catholic; 2015 Rod Drake, Owensboro; 2016 Josh Cook, Mercer County; 2017 Tim Sullivan, Cooper; 2018 Hicks, Scott County; 2019 Jared McCurry, John Hardin.

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Ashland Blazer's Jason Mays voted Courier Journal's Boys Basketball Coach of the Year - Courier Journal

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April 11th, 2020 at 6:41 pm

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