October 14, 2009 has been declared by the mayor of Italy to be Italy Youth Athletic Association (IYAA) Day. Mayor Frank Jackson also presented the first Volunteer of Year Award for IYAA to local parent, Barry Byers, on Monday night in a special session before the regular council meeting.
According to Gary Wood, VP of IYAA, Byers works very hard for the association, “He’s the type of guy that will stay up all night after working a football game, write a story for italyneotribune.com and come out and coach the next morning. He gives what it takes for the kids. He coaches and helps all the time. We are proud to have Barry be the first Volunteer of the Year.”
Byers has been coaching, donating his time and talents to IYAA for four years. Son, Zain Byers, wanted to play football in the 5th grade and that’s where it all began. “I coached 5th and 6th grade to help my son and his buddies and when Zain moved onto Italy Junior High, I coached Kindergarden, 1st and 2nd grades. I even coached girls 5th and 6th grade basketball. It was a blast.”
Barry played sports all of his life and confided that the generations before helped him make the decision to “pay it forward”. “There were a lot of adults helping the youth of this town for along time. They supported us by giving us rides to the games, feeding us and just being in the stands. I remember when coach Bobby Itson would haul about 15 football players in the back of his truck to the games. Stuff like this adds up to paying it forward. I want to give the kids the same opportunity I had. Italy is a great place to raise children and our youth today deserve the same encouragement I was given. I am so thankful for the people of my youth and this organization today that supports the kids. It is rewarding and exciting to see these students grow up on different levels. The motto ‘The winning tradition starts here’ rings true,” Byers explained.
IYAA is available to children kindergarden through sixth grade for softball, baseball, basketball, football and cheerleading.