Athletics as Opportunity at Boys Home

Mike Nunnally, Boys Home resident 1956-1963

When he was 12, Mike Nunnally became a ward of the state of Virginia and was sent to Boys Home. His mother and stepfather were abusive, his biological father was absent, and a foster care placement hadn’t worked out. Boys Home was the next option.

Mike describes Boys Home in 1956 as being fueled by competition. He says there were always kids playing sports in the field, and the cottages were so serious about the annual Christmas decoration contest that his cottage acted out a live nativity scene one year!

Luckily, in that sort of environment, Mike was a natural athlete. He joined in the competition, playing on the basketball and baseball teams while at Boys Home. Many older students were accomplished athletes, and Mike looked up to them as they went on to play college sports. Without a family support system to count on after high school, college sports provided an opportunity that he may not have had otherwise. “Athletics were a stepping stone to a future where I had control over my life,” he says. After his time at Boys Home, Mike attended Bridgewater College and worked as a teacher and coach in Loudon County for over 30 years. He returned to Boys Home to coach the basketball team in 2018.

Being back at Boys Home as the basketball coach has been both a challenge and a labor of love. “I love these guys,” Mike says. He recognizes that our students have many similar problems, challenges, and growing to do that he had at their age. But he also knows with fairness, honesty, and consistency, every child can live up to or exceed expectations.

Mike (L) and his son Pete (R) in front of the dining hall, summer 2019

Mike also writes a blog with stories from his life. Read more here.


This entry was posted in .