BJ Mayer

Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association 2020 Hall of Fame inductee BJ Mayer turned the girls’ basketball program around only one year into the decade as they made their first-ever state tournament appearance fighting their way into the championship game in 2011. Mayer’s teams also made appearances in Wells Fargo in 2013, 2015, 2017 and a win against cross-town rival City High in the 2018 state championship.

For Mayer, the amount of state tournament appearances is equalized by the sense of family and culture present within the girls basketball program. Throughout all four quarters, one can find Mayer pacing up and down the slide line, not only coaching but encouraging. With Mayer’s culture came success as his teams finished with a record of 187-53 in the past decade along with six Mississippi Valley Conference divisional titles.

 “Coach Mayer was more than just a coach to me …  a person that was there for me when I needed him most but as well as someone who helped me become the player and person I am today,” said Lauren Zacharias ’19, a former four-year starter under Mayer. “Don’t take it for granted because he is the best coach you will ever play for and it goes by fast.” 

Mayer brings the culture of his girl’s basketball program to places on and off the court to produce a connection between his players and an all-in mentality every night. Team bonding and inclusive meals are all part of the chemistry that has produced winning teams under Mayer’s regime.

“We really want to be about a family … we try to worry about us, we want to play really good defense, we wanna share the basketball,” Mayer said.

A big part of being a family is helping one another through constant encouragement, which has been crucial for this year’s team that features four new players in its rotation.

“We have also tried to bring in our younger kids like the seventh and eighth graders come in the summer all the time so they get to see that upfront, so when they do get to us that helps bridge that gap a little bit,” Mayer said.

A little over halfway through the 2020 season Mayer’s team undoubtedly has the family-like atmosphere but with some new faces to the program, there is definitely some room to learn and develop. As his young team continues to take in varsity experience the future can only be bright for Mayer and his squad.