Jody May: The Coach Behind the Basketball Team

Albion’s head men’s basketball coach, Jody May (left), talks to Michigan State University’s head basketball, Tom Izzo (right), during the Albion versus Michigan State basketball game held at the Breslin Student Events Center on Oct. 28. This was the starting game of the men’s season, that led them to win the MIAA regular season for the first time since 2005 (Photo by Patrick Smoker).

Head men’s basketball coach Jody May was hired as an assistant coach for Albion’s men’s basketball team in 1997 under past head coach Mike Turner. May was the assistant coach for the next eleven years before being promoted to the head coach position in 2008. 

While May grew up playing basketball, football and baseball, he was most often recruited for football to continue in college. May’s father, who served as the head coach for varsity basketball and later the athletic director at May’s high school in Lima, Ohio, had a profound impact on May’s love for basketball. Of all the sports he played, May grew up loving basketball the most.

“I think my dad had the biggest impact on my life and love for basketball,” said May.

May, who attended Ohio Northern University, was captain of his basketball team his senior year and led the team to an NCAA Division lll championship in 1993. This experience helped him obtain a coaching position at Bluffton College while obtaining his master’s degree, in sports management, at Bowling Green University.

After finishing his master’s degree, May left his position at Bluffton College and obtained the assistant coaching position at  Hanover College. After two seasons May found himself coaching at his third Divison lll school, Albion College.

“The division lll model really fits me. The kids who are student-athletes at Division lll are the true definition of a student first and then an athlete. Extracurricular activities fit into the Division lll model, but it’s not the most important thing,” said May. “That’s my philosophy. That’s what fits me. It’s what I played with when I played and it just fits who I am as a person and a coach. It doesn’t matter what level you have or what level you’re at. We all have challenges in coaching.”

Normally, it’s very unusual for an assistant coach to stay in the same position for more than two years, but May stayed as the assistant coach for Albion College for eleven years before obtaining the head coach position. 

“You have to find the right place at the right time, and that happened to be Albion,” said May.

Many factors went into May realizing that Albion was the place for him. 

“Number one, it was a full-time position, but number two, I knew that Albion College had a great academic reputation,” said May. “I also knew that the head coach, Mike Turner, had [created] a great basketball program as a long time head coach.”

It was early on in his career that May realized that Albion was a special place.

“A place like Albion is what fits me. A student-athlete can come here and have a great experience playing basketball and also get a great education and be very successful when they’re done,” said May. “That’s ultimately why I’ve stayed so long.”

The Team 

Last year,  the team graduated six seniors who had great leadership skills. The question going into the season was who is going to fill those leadership roles. Filling those roles was something the team worked on all season and will be continuing to work on in the next season. 

The focus for the season was developing each player, whether he was a starter or sat the bench, in order to develop the team as a whole. May said leadership on and off the court are equally as important. 

They’re a team that when they are all together they’re really close, one of the closest teams that Albion has had in a long time. When they’re away from basketball, they can be frequently been seen around campus together.

“It’s the nice thing about Albion College. We do have guys get involved in other things, and they’re not always around basketball players if they want to be because they do get involved in other things. And that’s the great thing about being at a small college like Albion is that you can get involved in those things,” said May. 

The ability to be known for more than just basketball on campus is something that goes back to one of the reasons why May likes the Division lll model and has found his home in Division lll.

About Erin Lathrop 20 Articles
Erin is a sophomore from Saline, MI. She is on the Track, Cross Country, and Dive team. Erin is at Albion College studying to become a nurse. She is, also, the movie trolls number one fan.

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