Michael Lyons: MentorIRL

By Billy Hartman | January 12, 2017

As part of BayHawks Mentoring Month presented by Big Brothers Big Sister of Family Services of NW PA, we sat down with BayHawks Guard Michael Lyons on the importance of mentors in his life.

Michael Lyons earned his roster spot with the Erie BayHawks after impressing in an open tryout in Erie. After graduating from the Air Force Academy, where he is one of the program’s leading scorers, Mike had to put his basketball dream on hold to fulfill his Air Force duties. With mentoring and the benefit of mentoring others, Mike followed through on chasing the dream to professional basketball. We sat down with Mike to talk about the importance of mentoring:

What role have your mentors played?

There are two parts to the role mentors have played in my life. I have mentors for my basketball career and in the Air Force. My parents are my mentors basketball-wise. They always push me even at times even when I thought I couldn’t go further. They have a lot of life experience and they’ve done a good job passing that along to my siblings (brother and sister) and that comes from my parents having a military background. My mom was a major in the army with 20 years of service and my dad was a lieutenant colonel in the army with 20 years of service.

In the Air Force, I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with Lisa Markel. During my second assignment at Peterson Air Force Base (Colorado Springs, CO), Lisa took me in. She was the person who knew how everything worked and about everything in the office. She made it a point for me to know how things worked and knew how to help me wrap my head around the new responsibilities I had as a project officer. She had all the knowledge in the office and she always went out of her way to be helpful to me. She puts herself before everyone else and exemplifies Air Force core values and I look up to that a lot.


Have you mentored anyone?

In my first year after graduating from Air Force, I was a mentor to around 80 incoming Air Force Academy cadets. My job was to prepare them for life at the academy and to be an outlet for them as a military training officer. It was incredibly rewarding to see their growth and be a part of what they’ve accomplished up to this point.

On top of the Air Force, I mentor about 25 kids from ages 7-18 through Peak City Athletics, an organization my friends and I started to train young kids while conveying the message to them that hard work on the court should have a direct correlation to their lives off the court. It’s all about building good habits, just like I grew up.


Why Air Force?

Basketball, of course, played a factor in my decision but choosing Air Force over other places was an easy decision because it guaranteed that I had a solid career path ahead of me and help me develop as a person all around.


How did growing up in a military background shape who you are?

Discipline was huge in the household. My brother, sister, and I each had different roles and responsibilities. Now, it’s carried over into my life with little things that I now see every day like making my bed. It wasn’t just a habit from the Academy, it’s a habit of growing up.


How is your military background going to influence the way you raise your son?

It’s going to have a huge impact on raising my son. You’ve got to be a stern parent but also have a reason and my parents were great role models and make sure he grows up to be a respectful.


What parts of the military has translated to your time with the BayHawks?

Core values have translated to this team and I have those core values. Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all I do.