Youth Sports Fund Makes First Grant In Name Of Beloved Coach

Julia Niles, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation’s grants manager, joins Michael Myles’ parents, Charles and Jean Myles, and wife, Kimberly Myles, in posing with the Chautauqua Christian Academy’s boys and girls soccer teams on the school’s newly-installed field surface. Submitted photo

Organized sports can play a crucial role in the development of today’s youth.

Sports promote physical activity, teach young people how to communicate and work as a team, and provide encouragement to overcome life’s challenges.

Equally as important is the impact coaches can have on the lives of young athletes.

For some, a coach represents the leader of the team. They’re responsible for managing plays, players, and winning games. Other coaches recognize the greater impact of their role. They see their role as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those on their team.

Michael Myles was one of those coaches. He understood that a good coach offers support and encouragement. He valued sportsmanship and humility as much as competition and victory. He recognized that young athletes often needed someone to listen and someone who saw them as human beings.

This is why the youth sports community was so devastated by Michael’s cancer diagnosis and passing in 2019.

Michael’s wife Kimberly was well aware of his importance to the young athletes and mourned for their loss as much as the family’s. “A number of his players called Mike their second father,” she added. “He loved sports, and loved to coach the games, but he never lost sight of the impact he had on the kids.”

Michael grew up playing sports himself, an accomplished baseball and football player, and was a member of the U.S. Marines baseball team during his service between 1992 and 1996. Coaching began as a regular part of fatherhood, difficult to avoid when two daughters (Alexis and Lauren Grissom) and two sons (Austin and Gehrig Myles) shared his passion for sports.

His time coaching continued after his children’s days on the field, until his bout with cancer became too challenging.

Upon Michael’s passing, the youth sports community joined the family in establishing the Michael Myles Youth Sports Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. In Michael’s name, grants will be made to support sports programs with a variety of needs.

This fall, the first grant was awarded to Chautauqua Christian Academy for repairs to its soccer field. Not only is the field used by the students at the school, it is also available for use by the community.

“We receive requests every year from youth sports organizations and municipalities to cover equipment purchases, training needs, and larger field and facility improvements,” said Tory Irgang, executive director. “The need is significant, and we hope to grow this Fund to meet the need. We will use the dollars each year to ensure that Coach Myles’ impact will continue to be felt by many youth sports participants.”

Donations to grow the Michael Myles Youth Sports Fund are important and can be made online at crcfonline.org/give or by mailing a check to Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, 418 Spring St., Jamestown, NY 14701.

The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation administers over 700 endowments in support of emerging community needs, charitable organizations and local students pursuing higher education. For more information visit www.crcfonline.org or contact Lisa Lynde, Donor Services Officer at 716-661-3390 or llynde@crcfonline.org.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today