It was one of the toughest decisions of his life, but one that Mark Mays knew he had to make.
The third-year Bethel girls’ varsity basketball coach has stepped down from his position last week, citing health and personal reasons after he hasn’t been feeling well lately. While he stated he is not suffering from a life-threatening illness, he does point to one reason why he needed to step away from the game.
“It was stress related and that was the main reason that I needed to give this up,” Mays said on Friday.
Mays had decided that he would step away following their game at Mississinawa Valley on Wednesday, and as hard as it was to leave, he knew it was the only option right now.
“I wasn’t getting much sleep and not eating due to the stress of trying to make this all work, and I knew I had to do something,” he said. “I needed to do something before it got out of hand, and I wasn’t feeling good. I was taking the stress home with me, and it was wearing me down. Right now I have to think of me first, and my family.”
Mays, 59, also had a friend recently pass away and he was only two years younger than Mays.
“That put some fear into me, he was only 57,” Mays said. “That was young and I didn’t want that to happen to me. The bad part about it, is that I didn’t quite finish the job here at Bethel for the girls what I set out to do. My goal was to get these girls to the next level, but they are a lot farther along than they have been.”
“The girls understand that to develop character thru basketball was always a big deal for me. While you are doing it, you can use basketball to develop character to use the rest of their lives.”
While he won’t miss the stress issues that has caused his health problems, he will definitely miss the interaction with his team and coaching staff.
“I will really miss the girls, when you are with the same people for three years, you all become a family,” Mays said. “Corey will do a fine job taking over for me, he has been with me for two years.”
“I set out to move the program forward and be competitive and get basketball back at Bethel.”
Corey Steinke will take over as the interim head coach of the Bees for the remainder of the season.