The Product of “His” Work

13 – 20+ Wins in a Season
15 District Championships
10 State Tournament Final Four Appearances
5 State Tournament Runner-up
8 State Tournament Championship Game Appearances
3 State Championships
25 Lady Trojans Played College Ball
2 NM Gatorade Players of the Year
11 District 3AAAAA Coach of the Year
400+ Career Wins as of January 2, 2015

Add to these numbers the fact that in 2004 George Maya was named New Mexico Girl’s Basketball Coach of the Year; in 2014 he was the National Federation of State High School Coaches Sectional Coach of the Year for the states including Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas  as well as a national finalist for the Max Preps Double Goal Coach Award; and a 2015 finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year which places him in an elite circle of eight top coaches in the country. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, most recently Coach Maya was presented with the New Mexico High School Coaches Association’s Ralph Bowyer Coaching for Character Award where he was also presented with a ring for reaching the coaching milestone of accomplishing 400 wins. Much like his latest award, most awards require that a coach consistently serve as a role model of character for young athletes, demonstrate good character in his/her life, and influence young athletes in a positive way. Coach George Maya exemplifies everything that these awards represent and then some.

Every person connected to girls’ basketball in the State of New Mexico has witnessed Coach Maya’s passion on the court. We’ve all seen his animated demeanor as he yells, turns red, argues with officials and occasionally slams a clipboard on the floor as he intensely directs his team to victory. For many, this is the only image of Coach Maya that comes to mind. However, there is much more to the man behind the success and legacy of Lady Trojan Basketball. 

The trajectory of his 32-year career as a basketball coach has been a very fulfilling one to say the least. George is proud to admit that he is a product of the South Valley and that he was influenced to become a coach by the amazing teachers and Coach Zac Valles at Gadsden High School, where he graduated in 1979. Early in his career he had a short two-year stint as an assistant coach with the girls’ basketball program at Gadsden. He moved on to Mayfield where he coached the boys’ Freshmen and JV basketball teams, under two influential coaches, Jimmy Oliver and Manuel Trevizo, for 10 years before accepting the Head Coach position for the girls’ basketball program, a position he has held for the past 20 years.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know him well enough to know that the title of “coach” isn’t all inclusive and doesn’t totally define who he is. First and foremost, George Maya is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ; always busy at church serving at the altar, serving those in need and ready with a kind word to lift anyone up who needs it. He is a loving, devoted husband of 29 years to his wife Anna, father, grandfather, brother (to formal rival Coach Roger), son and a trusted friend to many. George prides himself in the relationships he has built throughout his life, but especially with his players; for whom he has been a father figure to some, and a counselor and mentor to others.

The idea of “service” is also something he teaches his team. Every year, the Lady Trojans volunteer at many local events such as Coats for Kids, March of Dimes, the Christmas Bike Giveaway program, Dress-A-Child Campaign and Cowboys for Cancer for which they have raised over $14,000 in the past seven years. Additionally, Coach Maya has incorporated the Character Matters Curriculum by Wade Salem in both his Physical Education classes as well as his basketball classes. The goal of the curriculum is to make students aware that character matters not only in the classroom but in life. This program targets responsibility, poise, teamwork, selflessness, respect, honesty, loyalty and trustworthiness among other things. 

In contrast to his serving spirit however, during a basketball game that gentle servant is transformed into a passionate, fierce leader that is always one step ahead of his opponent. He has a unique way of imparting that fire and passion to his players and they become just as fierce as him. The game becomes much faster, more strategic and much more physical when, in everyone’s mind, Mayfield has no more to give. “I push my kids and I expect so much from them. But ultimately, they know that I believe in them and I know they believe in me. That’s really what makes us a successful team,” boasted Coach Maya.

Even though his track record is uncontested in Las Cruces, he is the first to admit that it isn’t always about winning on the court. Instilled in him by his parents, Nicolasa and the late George A. Maya, winning in life and being a decent person is much more important. And judging by what some of his former players have to say about him, it is obvious that he sincerely cares about encouraging the kids around him to become successful adults.

“Coach Maya is a true friend and mentor in addition to being a gifted coach. He has been such an important part of my life that I invited him to my wedding and still keep in touch with him today. As a coach, he showed me that you can do anything you believe in. We were not the biggest or the most talented group, but we believed in each other, and we believed in our coaches. That team bonded and played so well together that we beat many very good teams that year. George is a wonderful person. His success comes from his passion and devotion to his players. He would give the last penny from his pocket to help somebody in need, and everybody that plays for him understands how much he cares. Recently, when a family member was going through a serious health issue, Coach Maya was there to support me and help in any way possible. It was an honor to play for him,” remarked Jeremy Edwards who played for Coach Maya from 1990 to 1994.

Sophia Dastrup played for Coach Maya from 2001 to 2005. She was part of the first Lady Trojan team to win the state championship in 2004. Sophia says that during high school not only did Coach Maya help her become a successful basketball player, but he ultimately helped her land a scholarship in Austin, TX. “He had an immense influence on my personal life. There were multiple events during high school that could have steered me in the wrong direction but Coach Maya kept me grounded and always thinking about my future. I credit much of my strong work ethic to my time playing at Mayfield. We were pushed to our limits during practice, and we all knew that it would be worth it in the end. Giving up was not an option and hard work always paid off. He was not only my coach, but my mentor,” said Sophia.

Sophia’s younger sister Elena Holguin played for Coach Maya from 2007-2011 and was also a part of a state championship. She states: “The most valuable lesson Coach Maya taught me was how to develop myself into someone that my teammates looked up to. He taught me how to be a leader and to always hold myself accountable for things even if they are not my doing. Without him I would not have gone to the next level of my basketball career. He got me prepared physically and mentally for any obstacles I would face in my lifetime. He is one of the few people who has impacted my life and helped me become the person I am today. Not just anyone can play for him because if they do not have that same fire he does for the game of basketball there is no point in putting so much time and energy into it. 

Coach Maya attracts kids who are motivated and want to be successful. He has a winning attitude and that is why his program is so successful. He pushes you to the highest level to show you that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. He is the ideal head coach for women’s high school basketball. I am super proud of him and his accomplishments and I am so grateful to be a part of his legacy.”

As a father, Coach Maya is most proud of the opportunity he had to coach his own daughter, Jeneca, during her high school basketball career (2005-2009) and admits that coaching her rates higher than winning a state championship. Coach Maya’s son, Jake, also played basketball at Mayfield and although he didn’t coach him, he was Jake’s biggest supporter and fan. Today, Jeneca is following in his footsteps and is learning the trade on his coaching staff. 

“If you want to be successful in life and win, you go to Mayfield,” assures Jeneca. “My dad doesn’t just teach basketball, he teaches life lessons. The things he taught us not only pertained to basketball, but also being a better person. He loves the sport more than anyone I know and I will always admire the way the girls and the parents respond to his sincerity and his genuine character. He sometimes believes in the girls more than they believe in themselves. Sometimes basketball can dominate his life and I can get a little jealous of not getting him to myself, but I know these kids deserve a coach like him, so I am willing to share. As a father and a coach, he has molded me in to the person I am today and has shaped my life for the better. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and preparing myself to get in to law school. He is a great dad and a fantastic grandpa to Ashlyn and Zayden. He will always be my hero and I love him more than he will ever know. He is truly an amazing person!” 

Respectfully, Coach Maya credits his faith foremost, his family’s unconditional support and his dedicated coaching staff with much of his success. He is grateful to the teachers and administration for their support of his program, and is also very appreciative of the immense support his program has received from the community throughout the years. However, he acknowledges that most importantly the success on the court has been possible only because of all the great kids that he has had. Coach Maya’s passion truly is working with youth and admits that it is all about them. “I learn as much from the kids as they do from me. I am honored to be a coach for so many years and to know that I have made a difference in so many lives. I thank God daily because I am truly blessed,” he concludes.

One of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time, John Wooden, stated that: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” For George Maya self-satisfaction has not only come from doing his best to become the best, but from doing his best so that everyone around him becomes their best.

Summer 2015
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