Ardmore's Donald May named 2021 Male Athlete of the Year for Best of the Arbuckles

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore's Donald May was named the 2021 Male Athlete of the Year for the Best of the Arbuckles Preps.

There are very few athletes who can step into a locker room and provide a squad with both talent and leadership. Ardmore High School’s Donald May is one of those special cases though, as the senior demonstrated both at all times throughout his career at Ardmore.

For that reason, May was recognized as the 2021 Male Athlete of the Year for Best of the Arbuckles Preps.

“Donald is an amazing, high-character kid who’s been an absolute pleasure to coach over the last three years,” said Tigers football coach Josh Newby. “When he was a sophomore, I knew he was special. He just had that extra gear. But what was probably the most impressive thing about him was his leadership skills – him helping coach younger players. He did more than just play. He brought our character level in the locker room up a whole lot more.”

May’s character wasn’t just on display for his peers though, as he also brought it home to his family.

That was especially important this past summer when his mother spent a month in the hospital. It could have been an overwhelming situation for him, but he stepped up and took on a larger role.

“Donald paid the bills and made sure his family was good,” Newby said. “I would check on him every once in a while, and he said, ‘Coach, we’re good. I got it under control.’ That’s from a high school student. I just thought that was incredible.”

That leadership was also impressive as May guided the Tigers on the football field during an uncertain season. Ardmore was scheduled to play 10 games in the regular season, but COVID-19 wiped out four of those contests.

May still managed to run the ball 68 times for 581 yards, for an average of 8.5 yards per carry. He also added 270 yards receiving and finished with a total of 10 touchdowns in eight games.

“We lost four games and he still had great numbers, but it could have been even better,” Newby said. “Donald epitomizes this — we handed the ball to him 22 times versus Carl Albert and he never turned it down. After that game, he was bruised and battered. He also blocked a punt that game. He was just a warrior. He never backed down.”

May didn’t just use mentality during football season though, as he carried it over to Ardmore’s track and field team. He was the leader of that squad, too, and Tigers head coach Bryce Bell said it’ll be tough to fill his shoes next season.

“Obviously, his performance is going to be difficult to replace, but his leadership is even more difficult because getting to coach kids who are that caliber of character and talent doesn’t come around a lot,” Bell said. “Coach Newby and I have mentioned multiple times about how much of a joy it is to coach a young man who does all the things right and has all the tools – the ability, the attitude, the mentality, the work ethic and the coachability. Everything that you look for in an athlete to lead your team, he has it. And it’s a joy to watch him.”

Luckily, May’s athletic career isn’t over yet.

He’ll join teammate Alijah Pickens on the football field next season at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany.

Only time will tell how May fares at the next level, but it’s safe to say he has the character to succeed.

“There’s something special in Donald, he has a great heart to help other,” Newby said. “He makes really good decisions when he’s confronted with situations and issues. He always makes the right decision. That’s what I told Donald, ‘Don’t change what’s inside you because you have something special going on.’ He’s just a neat young man and he’s a coach’s dream. I’m going to miss him.”