December 21st, 2011

Hyland's Heroes: Tim Matis

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Tim Matis
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Louisville transplant fits right in with CSAA mission

A great majority of the coaches, officials and administrators of the CSAA were born and raised in Louisville and launched their sporting careers in the long-standing, distinguished organization.

But there are other coaches who have moved to Louisville and have enjoyed similar sporting roots from their local CYO or Catholic school leagues.

Tim Matis, Head Coach of the girls 6th grade team at St. Aloysius, is an example of a volunteer who has moved to Louisville and brought his Catholic sporting roots with him. Now in his 8th year as a volunteer coach for St. Aloysius, Matis’ story is one to whom many can relate.

Raised in Poland, OH—suburb of Youngstown—Matis attended Holy Family grade school, and was closely tied to his church as a youth and a teenager. He was introduced to organized sports at the school in much the same way that the thousands of student athletes in the CSAA are. He played basketball, football and ran track. And he got his coaching start in much the same way many of the CSAA coaches get started: with a little nudge from a friend.

“About eight years ago a friend of mine was coaching at St. Aloysius,” Matis recalled. “He told me that one of his assistant coaches wasn’t returning and asked me if I’d be willing to help out as I was new to the neighborhood and a big sports fan. He knew that I’d played in the Catholic school system when I was younger and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Eight years later, Matis is still going strong with three daughters at the school: 6th grader Allison, whom he gets to coach every day; 5th grader Lydia, who is a member of the 5th/6th grade B team; and 1st grader Natalie, who will get her start in basketball in the next year or so.

“I kept moving up the pecking order as coaches moved on or retired,” he said. “The coaching takes a lot of time, but it is time well spent.”

It is a refrain that you hear often from the volunteer coaches; that their time is well spent. The gratification of seeing a young student-athlete learn new skills, develop a love of the game and have some success is the reward for the time, energy and devotion to coaching youth teams.

“Growing up, we were a small school and our Catholic school system was really strong,” Matis said. “As kids, we were able to try all the sports and we had so many dedicated volunteers and parents who gave up their time to coach us. To this day, when I go home and go to Mass I’ll see people I went to grade school with, or their parents or former coaches. Sports really brought our community together, just as it does here.”

Keeping up with those ties may be difficult due to time and distance, but those same types of relationships are budding here in Louisville for Matis and his family. Matis knows well the time-honored tradition of the oft-asked Louisville question: where did you go to school? Up north, that question was understood to mean where you went to college. In Louisville, it’s all about where you went to high school.

“I met my wife here in the advertising business, and she was a local Catholic grade school and high school alum,” he said. “She has let me know what those high school ties are all about.”

About his wife, Laura, Matis explains just how important she has been to his coaching career. Her support as “team mom” and all the duties that come with that have enabled him to free up enough of his time to focus on the coaching responsibilities.

“When my friend first got me involved as an assistant coach, it was the perfect role for me,” said Matis. “I didn’t have to worry about all of the communication and the uniforms and all of the other things. My wife Laura has been a tremendous help to me in those areas since I became a head coach last year. And the stewardship opportunity to give back to the St. Aloysius community has been really special for us both.”

Though he has been involved as a coach for only eight years, and with a daughter in first grade, it sounds like Matis will be involved for at least another seven or eight years. Welcome to the CSAA, Tim!


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