Life Coach

YMCA mentor teaches more than sports

By Jessica Laskey
May 2024

Kids on Foy Reynolds’ YMCA basketball teams learn more than sports skills. They learn life lessons.

“I coach by the Y’s core values: respect, responsibility, caring and honesty,” Reynolds says. “I start getting kids in second grade all the way through seventh, which is an important time in their life. They play hard and they win, but they earn it because they work hard. I bring out the best in a person. That’s my job.”

Reynolds has volunteered as a coach at the YMCA on W Street for 12 years. He has a long history of inspiring young people.

He was hired by Mountain View YMCA as a site supervisor in 2001. When they were short a coach for the 2002 basketball season, Reynolds stepped up and took on three teams: kindergarten, fourth grade and high school.
Management liked him so much they hired him to run the sports programs. Reynolds soon ran YMCA sports camps at Stanford.

When he moved to Sacramento and got engaged, Reynolds stopped coaching. He worked odd jobs until his youngest son showed an interest in sports.

Not wanting to “put my kid in something and not be a part of it,” Reynolds coached his son’s football teams at the YMCA, plus Burbank and Sheldon high school feeder youth programs.

“At that moment, I knew my calling in life was coaching our youth,” says Reynolds, who coaches 150 kids a year across three YMCA basketball teams and a flag football team. “It also was a perfect opportunity to not only coach and mentor my own son, but also so many other kids throughout Sacramento.”

To keep himself at the top of his game, Reynolds earned associate degrees in sociology and social and behavioral sciences. He strives to build young athletes’ physical strength—each practice starts with a run—and strength of character.

“We don’t just talk about just sports,” the Hollywood Park resident says. “You can’t play if you’re not also good in school and listen to your parents. It’s valuable to the growth of the kid. Some of the kids come back to see me as young adults, and I ask how they’re doing in school. They want me to know that they’re doing good.”

“Coach Foy is the best coach I have ever had because he is helping me become a better player,” 12-year-old Lucas Gerkovich says. “He’s teaching us the right way to play basketball and also makes sure we show good sportsmanship. He’s always pushing us to do our best.”

Reynolds himself grew up playing baseball—it was the one sport his grandmother could afford when she raised Reynolds and his three siblings. He knows how important sports can be to a young person. At age 65, he volunteers his time and gives newer generations a solid foundation.

“I want to be around good kids and build community among teams,” he says. “The kids and their parents become my friends. I can’t tell you how many birthday parties I’ve been to. Everywhere I go, I see somebody who says, ‘Hey, coach!’ That does something for me. Coaching is just part of me now.”

Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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