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Stacey May considers himself a lucky individual with the best of both worlds as he is experiencing his two true loves this year.
May is in his first season as the boys' basketball coach at Williamstown High School in addition to his duties as administrative sergeant for the Kentucky State Police.
As a child, May knew he wanted to be both a police officer and involved in education. The only question was which would be the top priority for him.
That question would be answered during his time as a student at Indiana University, where he received a degree in criminal justice.
"I always wanted to be a police officer, and I thank God for giving me the opportunity. Education was always my second choice, but I am thankful that I can do both and have a profound impact on children. I am very thankful for the opportunities I have been given," May said.
The Pursuit of the Gray Uniform
Growing up in Indiana, May had several friends who were police officers and he was impressed with the way they conducted themselves.
"They set a positive example for me," May said.
That example continued when May stepped onto Indiana University's campus, becoming involved in a ride-along program with the Indiana State Police. It was then that May became hooked on pursuing a career in law enforcement.
After graduation, May had opportunities with both the Indiana and Kentucky state police agencies before deciding on a job with the KSP.
During February of 1999, May began his 22-week period in the police academy.
"It was very military oriented with an emphasis on being physically and mentally strong," May said.
In July 1999, May was assigned to Post 6 in Dry Ridge as a trooper. On Aug. 15, 2005, he was promoted to sergeant and then during August of last year, he was promoted to his current position.
Coaching provides a different uniform for May
May, who describes himself as "an average player," cut his basketball teeth at Indiana's Northeastern High School. During that time, he began to see how important sports can be for children and how they needed positive role models in their lives.
May got his start as a coach at Grant County, where he served as an assistant coach for the Grant County Middle School sixth grade team.
"I am very fortunate that I got my start at Grant County, and Ron Kinmon (Grant County High School boys' basketball coach) was very good to me," May said.
Kinmon said that May is a hard worker who truly cares about kids.
"He has chosen a career as a public servant in being a police officer and is also serving his community by having a positive influence on the lives of teenagers as a coach," Kinmon said.
After taking a year away from the hardwood, May got back into coaching at Williamstown High School, where he moved up the ranks from an assistant coach to head junior varsity coach to head varsity coach this season.
"I have really enjoyed this season, and I will be at Williamstown as long as they'll have me. The administration has been great, and they are very supportive," May said.
In addition to the support he has generated from the Williamstown administration, May has also received support from the KSP.
"Capt. Al Rich and Capt. Mike Crawford both have been great with me coaching," May said.
While this is his first season as a head coach on the varsity level, May said his experiences both as a player and as an assistant coach helped prepare him for the trials and tribulations after inheriting a team that won one game last season.
According to May, the toughest decision he has to make often centers around playing time.
"Coaching is like anything else. You have to make decisions that people don't always like at times. I try to be fair to everyone. If I can look in the mirror at the end of the day and know that I was fair, I am happy," he said.
Season has had a profound impact on Demons
It didn't take May's new team long to learn this season would be unlike any they had previously encountered.
For Williamstown senior Patrick Gatewood, the message came through loud and clear during the offseason as May put his team through a rigorous conditioning regime.
"It was pretty evident early on that he was a policeman when conditioning started. I think we did everything they do at the academy in terms of running," Gatewood said laughing.
Both Gatewood and fellow classmate Michael Walter say that May has brought a new expectation to the team.
"He has brought more discipline and a change of attitude to the program. We have fun, but everything is done in a professional manner. He is trying to teach us to be good, both on and off the court," Gatewood said.
Walter said two things May will not tolerate from his team are lying and back talk.
"We have learned responsibility and being accountable for what we do," Walter said.
One player who knows what to expect from May is his stepson, Dustin Bryant, who is a junior at WHS.
"Coach is strict on language and how we conduct ourselves out of practice. We do a lot of running, but we are all in the best shape of our lives," said Bryant.
Law enforcement, coaching positions overlap
May is quick to point out that law enforcement and coaching go hand-in-hand.
"It is very easy to blend the jobs. Being a trooper and a coach helps me relate to kids and it gives the kids a different aspect of law enforcement. Sometimes we have negative dealings with juveniles as members of law enforcement and this is a positive dealing," May said.
May said that the one area of his job that comes up, whether it be at a crime scene or in the gymnasium, is reading people.
"As an officer, knowing how to read a person can save a life. As a coach, knowing how to read a player lets you know whether or not you can push that player or back off," he said.
With six games remaining this season, May is hopeful that his players continue to learn life lessons that will help both on and off the court.
"If they take away one thing I've tried to teach and become better individuals, I have done my job," he said.