Coaching Mae Jemison High wrestlers is a win-win for local military veterans

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Two local military veterans have not stopped serving since they returned home from overseas. James Dowd and Cody Majors are coaching the champion J.O. Johnson High School Wrestling Team into their new chapter at Mae Jemison High School.

"These guys are therapy to me," Army Veteran Cody Majors said. "The stresses of the outside world, when we walk in this room, just go away."

Majors served our country in the United States Army for eight years and nine months. He suffered post traumatic stress disorder, but it no longer has a hold on him thanks to his coaching position.

"I was in the Anbar Province by Abu Ghraib Prison the first time, and then outside Baghdad in Sadr City the second time," Majors said.

Now, Majors serves his community as a coach to the high school wrestling team. He is not new to the sport, he wrestled at Lee High School before graduating in 2004.

"I can be myself in here and I can teach these guys," Majors said. "Coaching is really what I've wanted to do ever since I was in high school."

Majors joins forces with Marine Veteran James Dowd, another former wrestler for the generals.

"You come back and you search for something to kind of ease back into civilian life and wrestling, that opportunity was there so fast and so easy," Dowd said.

Inside their practice room known as "the Dungeon," both men strive to teach lessons in determination and selfless service.

"Not only teach them the sport, but teach them life lessons that go along with it, that's the most amazing part I love about it," Dowd said.

Majors said he is still a student himself, always trying to improve.

"I'm actually going to school at UAH to get a degree in kinesiology, which is basically a glorified physical education degree, which can prosper into many other things," Majors said. "I always wanted to be a coach and this degree is kind of helping me out."

Though the practices inside the dungeon are numbered, the opportunities ahead are countless.

"As one door closes, another door opens, this is a little better door this time," Dowd said.

Head Coach Chris Scribner revitalized the wrestling team in 2013. Over the past three years, every wrestler has received a scholarship to college, but that is not their only accomplishment. The Varsity Team took home an 8th place overall finish at the state competition in the 1A to 5A class. Four varsity wrestlers also placed at state individually.