Gilroy Today 2007 07 July/Aug - Page 7

T H O S E W H O D O Jay Baksa LEADER City Administrator coach Shaping the lives of our young athletes for over two decades. Jay Baksa goes over pre-game issues with the 2002-3 Gilroy High School Junior Varsity Team. MVP, Many of the students pictured here have gone on to play college sports. Most people in Gilroy know that Jay Baksa is the City Administrator. That is his work and his profession. The “not work” part of his life is his passion, his joy of life.. .and that is, his love of sports and coaching. Jay does not have a formal count but he estimates that he has coached 1,100 to 1,200 games starting with his three sons years ago and continuing till today with high school basketball. Jay has worn the coach’s hat in soccer, which he never played, basketball, baseball and volleyball. Sports have been a big part of his life. As a young boy he remembers going to Cleveland Indian games with his cigarsmoking grandfather. In high school, Jay was an outstanding football and basketball player. He admits he didn’t do well in baseball because he couldn’t hit the curve. He played basketball at Ohio Wesleyan University and was co-captain his senior year. Jay’s high school admitted him to the Midview Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. As his sons grew, Jay committed to coaching and helping with their teams. He started coaching soccer when the regular coach had to drop out and rather than disappoint the players he stepped in. Jay and friend, Craig Martin, had remarkable success in soccer when they took the local youth team all the way to a State association championship in the mid 1980’s. Jay admits that work can sometimes make one cynical but the enthusiasm, energy, hopefulness and commitment he sees in his players puts everything back in balance. Over the years, he has watched many transition to adulthood. As a coach, Jay has had an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of hundreds of young players. It makes Jay feel good to see so many former players find success. If you attend the Garlic Festival on a Friday, you might see Jay driving a tractor with a bunch of aspiring basketball players picking up garbage. He tells the incoming freshmen that this is their first tryout for the team. He wants to see how hard they work, how well they work together, and how well they follow instructions. “Playing basketball for the high school is a community thing; giving back to the community by working at the Festival is part of the players’ community responsibility” he says. Don’t think that Jay only devotes time to coaching. He was on the Founding Board of Leadership Gilroy and continues to be involved with fundraising. He is an active Rotarian who is committed to “giving back” through his involvement on the Chartable Giving Committee. With retirement just around the corner, Jay plans to do a little teaching and mentoring in the world of city managers. He also wants to get involved in some environmental issues and of course…to continue coaching. JULY/AUGUST 2007 GILROY TODAY 7