T H O S E W H O D O
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