November 17th, 2011

Hyland's Heroes: Fred "Buzzy" Heim

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Fred "Buzzy" Heim
photo from

Heim's CSAA career at 7 decades and counting        

The following feature is a part of a weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland, called "Hyland's Heroes" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports. Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero? Send your recommendation to

For the past eight decades Fred “Buzzy” Heim has played, coached or administered in the CSAA.

Think about that for a moment. Eight decades.

Heim played ball at St. Raphael in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. After graduating from Bardstown St. Joseph’s High School in 1956 where he lettered in basketball and golf, he matriculated at Bellarmine College and started his coaching career at St. Agnes in the late ‘50’s while still in college.

As acting Director of the boys basketball program for the past 25-plus years, Heim has watched thousands of players move through the CSAA and onto high school, college and beyond. His career has come to personify CSAA boys basketball.

His steady hand as a leader is based in strong principles that have become the hallmark of CSAA sports. Those principles were born out of his experience as an outstanding coach. A fixture on the sidelines at St. Agnes for more than 30 years, with one year at St. Albert and a seven year stint at St. Margaret Mary, Heim’s teams enjoyed success based on his demand for 100% effort as well as the high expectations he placed on his players’ character.

“I had some friends at St. Agnes who asked me to coach with them,” recalled Heim of his early beginnings in coaching. “I was learning how to help the kids and how to conduct myself as a coach. Being so young, I had a lot to learn about the intricacies of basketball and coaching.”

Those early years were the foundation of his distinguished career. His formation as a coach was steeped in the fundamentals and grounded in good conduct and sportsmanship. Those are principles to which he abides to this day, and still demands of the coaches in the CSAA.

“A lot of coaching has to do with conducting yourself properly so that you earn the respect of the kids and the parents,” said Heim. “That’s something you can’t demand, you have to earn it. You’ve got to act properly so that your kids have the proper example to follow. How many times do we see today coaches who can’t conduct themselves properly, yet they want their players to conduct themselves with poise.”

Little wonder why Heim has been so revered for so many years and why the basketball programs under his watch have flourished in the CSAA.

“You always look up to your peers and we had some great coaches in the CSAA,” he said. “Bart Robbin at St. James and Jack Clifford at St. Helen were two of the finest gentlemen and coaches that we ever had. They provided the model for me. I watched them and tried to follow their example.”

That foundation of sportsmanship and good conduct from some of those great coaches sticks with Heim today. It is the same process that he likes to see in the coaches today.

“The CSAA is such a great program and the kids that go through it are better for it,” he said. “We’ve had some great people show the examples to our kids about the way we want to see the game played. I love the people and the programs set up by the CSAA starting with Karl Schmitt-who did such a great job-and then Jim Frame who continued the excellence as Executive Director.”

Beyond those coaches, officials and CSAA volunteers, Heim talks about the satisfaction he gets from reconnecting with players from the past. Those young boys for whom his lessons were well absorbed.

“I love the relationships that you build with the kids and the people involved with the CSAA,” he said. “I’m humbled that I’ve been able to do the things that I’ve done. Your rewards come about when that boy you coached twenty years ago taps you on the shoulder and says, ‘You coached me twenty years ago and I just want to say thanks for everything you did.’ You put your heart and soul into it and watch these young kids develop. That’s a great feeling for me.”

His teams were highly successful and noted for their intensity, effort, preparation and sportsmanship. Heim recalled several cross-neighborhood battles with his alma mater, St. Raphael, when he was coaching at St. Agnes. But the wins and losses and championships are not prioritized with this CSAA coaching legend.

“All the trophies that you win are not that important,” he said. “The trophy that’s most important is the relationship that you have with your kids and that you still have twenty or thirty years later. It’s something you can’t replace. I feel very fortunate to have built relationships with some great kids over the years as well as the other coaches and the administrators.”


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