If Nick Mayle asks you to walk a mile in his shoes, think twice.
You see, Nick is planning to walk 172 miles this April, as he launches a drive to save junior high sports in his Philippi (West Virginia) Middle School.
Mayle is a 2001 graduate of East Canton High School and a 2005 graduate of Walsh University. He took a middle school science position in Philippi in 2006 and is currently the head football coach in the school of 240 students.
He and wife Whitney have two daughters, Raelynn, 3 years old, and Joelle, 20 months.
When his school decided to cut middle school athletics as a cost-saving measure, Mayle responded to the challenge. He pledged to walk the 172 miles from Philippi to Canton's Pro Football Hall of Fame. Why the HOF? "Because it represents the ultimate achievement of someone who takes on a goal."
So Mayle has a goal. He wants to raise $50,000 in his One Step at a Time challenge to save the sports program in his school. And this is the Nick that is still well remembered at ECHS.
Mayle coached junior high football under Coach Gene Carter who fondly recalls Nick.
"He coached for us a couple years while he attended Walsh. The players really seemed to like him and he was a very determined individual. If Nick put his mind to something, he was bound to do it. He asked lots of questions and was obviously headed toward being a successful teacher and coach," says Carter.
Former head football coach Dan Patterson says, "I coached him for two years and had him as a coach on our staff. It was a loss to our community when he had to move away to get a job because he has always been destined to do well."
So Mayle came up with an idea and now he has a plan. He figures to walk about 30-plus miles a day over spring break this year in early April. Accompanying him will be Barbour County head basketball coach Marcus Johnson.
"Marcus told me he would walk too, because it would get awfully lonely with no one to talk to," laughed Mayle when asked about his plans.
He intends to reach the Fairmont area by the end of day one, Cameron by day two, Wheeling by day three (all in West Virginia), and then into Ohio to the Cadiz area on four, and near Canton on day five. The hikers will have a camper following them to provide shelter and sleeping quarters if nothing else is available.
Next comes the funding and Mayle is making his appeals to multiple sources now. Those who want to learn more can contact him on the Facebook Page "One Step at a Time" or Facebook "Barbour All-County Sports Organization."
While raising the money is a concrete goal, Mayle has one that is more abstract but perhaps more important. "I want to embolden the children I teach to pursue their dreams. I want to create a culture of belief among our youth that through hard work and dedication all of their dreams are possible and can be made a reality, one step at a time."