A few minutes after the final horn sounds and the game is over Riverside girls basketball coach Denise Tyler takes her mind off coaching and back to parenting.
Tyler’s son, Jonovan, is a senior star player on the Riverside boys basketball team. Coach Tyler watches all of his games from the stands and cheers her son on as much as she can. After the games, she tries to offer nothing but encouragement.
It’s harder being a mom than a coach.
“Because I am a parent I am concerned about his well being. I want to make sure that he is doing well,” Coach Tyler said.
With just a handful of games remaining in the basketball season, both Denise and her son are trying to soak it all in. They know that their relationship will always be strong, but they also know that the years they spent together at Riverside High School have allowed the two to create some of the most special moments of their lives.
Riverside High School is a second home to the Tyler family.
It’s where Denise met her husband, John Tyler. Denise and John were not just high school sweethearts, they were also both standouts on the Riverside basketball teams. Denise was such a phenomenal player, in fact, that she earned a college scholarship to play at Jackson State University. Once her playing career was over at Jackson State, the couple knew they needed to raise their family back in the Delta.
Jonovan, who is also a talented football player, said he hopes to follow in his mother’s footsteps by attending Jackson State next year. Jonovan is the oldest of three children in the Tyler family. Mia is 15 years old and Jaylyn is 13.
The mother and son have nothing but love and admiration for each other.
“Some people don’t know this but Jonovan has a really good heart,” Coach Tyler said. “They see that he may be a cool kid or an athlete and say, ‘OK.” But Jonovan is always thinking about others and always wants to help those who need it.”
Jonovan speaks highly of his mother as well.
“She’s a hard working and God fearing person,” Jonovan said. “She is a great coach too, and she has gotten better at it.
Jonovan added, “She would not tell her girls anything she wouldn’t tell her own kids.
“The best advice she ever told me was to keep God first and always stay humble.”