Neile's Hometown Heroes: Retired coach Mike Mims still steering students toward success

Mike Mims graduated from Booker T. Washington High School back in 1964. He went on to play basketball in college and eventually found his way back to BTW. (KTUL)

On any given day, you'll find Mike Mims helping people.

"My hobby is people. I love people," he says with a smile.

We caught up with him at the Oklahoma Driving School, where employee Venessa Achambo explains,"Everybody requests him. They want Mr. Mims."

But to truly understand his ability with people, you have to understand that his path started in a different lane. Mims graduated from Booker T. Washington High School back in 1964. He went on to play basketball in college and eventually found his way back to BTW.

"There is no place like Booker T. Washington High School. I am convinced the largest influence on my life other than God, my family, has been Booker T. Washington High School," Mims said.

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He spent 13 years at the school: three as an assistant basketball coach and 10 as head coach.

He has a long list of accomplishments. In 1988, as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, he helped lead the Sooners to the NCAA title game. That same year, Sports Illustrated named him College Basketball's Assistant Coach Of The Year. The Tulsa Public Schools Hall of Fame Coach lead the Hornets to state championships in 1973, '77 and '81.

But it's not just his success on the hardwood that makes him unforgettable.

Just ask Greg Nash.

"I tell you what, you had to walk a straight line Mr. Mims," Nash said.

The track coach remembers Mims from his days as a student.

'If you gave him respect, he gave you respect. And he wants you to do the right thing. And he was always helpful. Anything you needed he was always helpful he was always there for us all the time," Nash said.

Not much has changed. BTW sophomore McKenna Raley, who is taking driving lessons from Mims, says he is "like a coach, even now."

"When we are driving, he'll be like, 'OK turn right, turn right, turn right,' and it's fun. He always asks me about how school is going or how my day went or what activities I've been doing," Raley said.

His play book, the Holy Bible, is always with him.

"I never enter this car without prayer," Mims said.

So, even though today he may be on a different court, Mims said he has been coaching his whole life.

"I've got coached, I've been coached and I'm going to continue to coach. I coach kids in this car each and every day," he said.

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Mims said serving others continues to drive him.

"When we learn how to serve others, other than ourselves, we do a magnificent job for heavenly things to happen to us, for us and with us, all the days of our lives," Mims said.

The Oklahoma Driving Institute estimates he's taught more than 25,000 students to drive.

"If you want to drive with Mr. Mims you better get on a waiting list," Archambo said.

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