SAN ANTONIO – Coach Jeffery Mays has brought positivity and change to the East Side for years, and now he's bringing the community and the whole city of San Antonio pride.
Mays is taking his talents all over the world and hopefully to the Olympics. Despite his amazing success, Coach Mays always keeps home at heart.
Coach is a term with many meanings.
"You're a father figure. You're an uncle. You're a counselor. You're a big brother. You fulfill so many roles in a kid's life," Mays said.
That's what Mays has done for his team, his family, that boxes every day at the Eastside Boys and Girls Club. It's an unpaid job that Mays said makes his life worth it.
"You hear so much negative stuff always about the East Side, so it's my way of making a difference and giving back," he said.
"I really haven't had the privilege of growing up with a male figure in my life, especially as stable as Coach Mays," boxer Ravven Brown said.
"A lot of times, we have kids that come here and they have bad grades or are getting in trouble at school, and when they come here, they have to have good grades. And if you get in trouble at school, you can't box. So a lot of kids have turned around," Mays said.
Recently, Mays started turning lives around elsewhere. He started coaching for Team USA Boxing, training the best of the best. Team USA has the best boxers in the United States. Those 10 males and three females compete in tournaments throughout the year in different countries.
"Went to a two-week training camp out at the Olympic Training Center, then we went to Germany. And it was one of the most successful tournaments recently for the U.S. Out of eight boxers, five of them got medals," Mays said.
Mays is confident Team USA will make it to the Olympics, and he'll be right there with them.
Even with Olympic coaching aspirations, Mays always ends up back at the Eastside Boys and Girls Club gym, spending the same amount of time, if not more, with local boxers.
"He's an amazing coach. Even after coming home from Germany and working with the USA Team, he's still humble about everything, and you could tell he was ready to get back to us," Brown said with a smile.
"These kids are like my own kids," Mays said, looking around at his students.
It's a hook to the heart that always keeps him coming back.
Mays is headed to Poland in May for another elite level competition. He would have been going to one in April as well but he declined so he can be in Texas at an East Side boxer's tournament. He said it's all about the balance.
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