The value of learning and working together are crucial parts to making any team successful, and Mike Mayfield is looking to bring that spirit as co-head coach to the 2022-23 season for women’s basketball at Madison College. Along with fellow co-head coach, James Adams, Mayfield is stepping into the role after being an assistant coach and long-time participant in the staff surrounding the team at Madison College.
“It’s been going great,” said Mayfield. “To really be honest with you, it’s just more paperwork. I have a great mentor, Coach [Lois] Heeren, who was the coach last year. She’s teaching me a lot more paperwork. As the assistant coach, I was doing a lot of recruiting. That was the joy of the job, going out and building a team. I really enjoy that building of the team, going out and finding players for the coach, and then building that team so we have team success.”
The Madison College women’s basketball team officially kicks off its 2022-’23 season on Sunday, Oct. 16 in Rockford, Ill., with a scrimmage against Rock Valley College Jamboree.
Mayfield’s road to his new position was paved with support from everyone surrounding him, providing a perfect example of what can be accomplished with the power of teamwork and lending a helping hand. Those same values were something that Mayfield experienced from his initial work in Madison sports at Monona Grove High School, where he has served as a vocational/educational assistant for the past 10 years.
“I just had a great administration and had so much help,” Mayfield said. “Honestly, the parents that I had in my program, you’re talking about not good parents, but great parents. They were great. Every time, I just smile when I think about how great our parents were. We had a great time with them. I really miss the parents because they were so pleasant and so nice. They supported you in everything, and we were successful. I had good players too. That’s important, but the parents were wonderful. Since I started here, even back in ’84.”
Mayfield’s time at Monona Grove High School fostered the team spirit he has taken to his time with the WolfPack. Mentors throughout Mayfield’s time coaching have provided valuable guidance and insight into the game of basketball. His collaboration with former Head Coach Lois Heeren and fellow Co-Head Coach James Adams over the past few years has provided that same opportunity for growth and teamwork.
“Those Hall of Famers, they are detail-oriented and will tell you, ‘This is what you need to do.’ So we learned,” said Mayfield. “I’m so grateful for that, and that’s what I love about Coach Adams and Coach Heeren. Coach Adams has this defense, this press in his defense, and it’s off the chart. The guy could turn his back and he’ll know you’re doing something wrong with the defense. He makes me laugh all the time. He just knows where you’re supposed to be at. Coach Heeren, she’s another detail-oriented person, and you learn from that. How to coach and how to do different things in certain situations. I’ve been blessed around great people, really.”
Some of the former Madison College coaches that Mayfield has worked with such as Jessica Pelzel and Steve Bentin still serve as a source of inspiration for the work that currently goes into Mayfield’s coaching, and that has led to what he feels is a recipe for success for the WolfPack’s upcoming season.
“That’s the first thing that was on my list that I put up, it said ‘We need shooters,’ Mayfield said. “People that can knock it down. If you leave them open, it’s three. We got that now. We got a post player who’s got post moves. We just got players that can do a lot of great things. Hopefully, we can mesh it all together, and we can go from there. Coach Adams is the type of coach that can put things together that can help us go in that direction and get it accomplished.”
A key part of the winning recipe to go along with great players is something that Mayfield has fostered both in his coaching style with the players and in his interactions with fellow coaches.
“[You need to have] great communication skills, because each player has a different personality…This player might be a quiet player, but they’re a great leader. She’ll dive on the floor for the ball. You communicate with her differently than somebody running their mouth all the time and having a good time, but that player is a great player, too,” Mayfield says. “You have to communicate differently with everybody. If you can master that, I think that helps you be an effective coach. I do pretty well with it, and I learned from people.”
Communication as a strategy has served so effectively for Mayfield that it has brought even more than victories in the game of basketball itself. The real victories for Mayfield occur when a player is given a memory or moments that last forever and continue to inspire past their days playing alongside Coach Mayfield.
“When they come back to you and are appreciative, and they really appreciate what you did for them, that’s a win to me,” said Mayfield. “That’s a winning formula. That they enjoyed it, we won, and they come back and explain things to you, and say that we enjoyed that moment in time. Even some of the college players when we won a national championship … they went and got their ring, and I got my ring, but I always like to stay back behind the scenes and do it correctly. Do it right, and it works out. I’ve been truly blessed.”
As someone who often likes to play more of a background role, Mayfield is not one to focus too much on his achievements and accolades. However, it is the people playing their position in the background that often make the whole operation work, and that is something Mayfield makes sure to draw attention to when props are given out.
“I always like to compliment those individuals, because they do a lot of hard work to get us on that floor,” Mayfield said. “They get us our uniforms, get us gym time, get us the bus, get us food or money so we eat on the road. It’s so much, so I’m grateful for those individuals who keep us in line and help us be steady with our programs. For the coaching part, we can do that, we know how to coach. That other part, the part that we never see, that’s the part that really inspires me.”
To follow any news on women’s basketball at Madison College, check out their page on the Madison College Athletics website here.