By Sgt. James Geelen
4th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — As a young boy growing up in Tacoma Park, Maryland, Maj. Michael R. Meyers II, had a passion for basketball and was a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meyers, battalion executive officer for 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, attended a private school where he met an inspirational basketball coach, Chuck Faust, who fostered his love of basketball and helped develop Meyers’ coaching ethic.
“I credit all of my success to Coach Faust and his coaching style,” Meyers said. “He helped me do so many great things.”
Meyers played basketball in middle school and some in college before joining the Army.
“I felt my basketball skills were at a peak when I commissioned as a lieutenant,” Meyers said. “But I felt there wasn’t a future for me as a player.”
But bigger things were in store for Meyers. While assigned to the “Black Jack Brigade” in Fort Hood, Texas, Meyers deployed to Iraq, and returned with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“I came back from deployment in 2007 and I had trouble adjusting, at times,” he said. “I had strange feelings, anxiety and trouble staying focused, and for a while it looked like I would never be associated with basketball again. But then I started coaching. Basketball has been a great way for me to maintain resiliency.”
Coaching basketball not only let him continue working with and developing young players but also turned out to be a way for him to manage the negative effects of deployment.
“I realized that by building these programs and coaching, it helped to keep me grounded and allowed me to do the same for others,” he said. “Whenever you’re checked in mentally on something, you’re checked out of all the negative things that happened to you.”
Meyers used his military basketball career and those around him to help his disorder. He began establishing teams at each base he was stationed.
“The team at Fort Riley (Kansas) was amazing,” he said. “We produced an All-Army player and an All-Army trainer. I coached the Daegu, South Korea, team and we won the All-Korea championship, and the Fort Hood team won back-to-back championships, too.”
Throughout his military career, Meyers found a balance between his volunteer work and his Army career, where he was able to promote basketball and help other Soldiers handle their PTSD.
Meyers’ dedication to basketball is now being recognized. As of a month ago, he was selected to be a part of the inaugural class of the Military Basketball Association Hall of Fame April 12 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
“The Hall of Fame selection committee was gracious enough to look at so many volunteers,” Meyers said. “I feel fortunate and blessed that they thought of me.”
The people selected were mostly coaches who made big contributions to the game and are great mentors to all service members.
“He’s very passionate about what he does,” said Lt. Col. Gavin Luher, commander, 4th STB, 4th SB. “You can tell he’s pouring his heart and soul into work and with sports. People can tell when you’re ‘going through the motions’ and I never see that with him.”
While Meyers was waiting to hear about the Military Basketball Association Hall of Fame, he decided to put in an application to coach the All-Army Women’s team.
On Feb. 8, Meyers was selected to be the coach of the All-Army Women’s team for the second straight year, and hopes to be able to bring the gold medal back to Fort Carson.
“He’s a great guy, a great coach, who knows the game very well,” said Sgt. Radiance Felton, human resource specialist with 4th SB. “He gives us his insights on the game, teaches us and trains us to be on (a higher) level.”
Felton has been playing on the All-Army Women’s Team since 2014. Meyers being the head coach again this year has influenced her desire to try out for the team this summer.
“Last year was a great experience,” Felton said. “It was intense playing with people from all around the world, who are in the military and played collegiate basketball as well.”
Luher agreed and said Meyers is constantly developing his team.
“You can always see progress, they’re achieving more each time,” Luher said. “I think that through a month of practices, (the) team will build, become more cohesive and really progress through that train-up and preparation for their tournament.”
While the goal is to improve upon last year’s silver medal, Meyers wants his fellow Soldiers to represent their units and the Army with pride.
“I’m really excited I get to represent the 4th SB and Fort Carson as a head coach, building and supporting military athletes.”