December 30th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: SSM Basketball

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: SSM Basketball
photo from Rick Laemmle

 Hoops Lead in Cardinal Athletic Program

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to

While St. Stephen Martyr has experienced success in many sports, Athletic Director and Girls’ Basketball Coordinator Rick Laemmle says hoops have specifically brought victories into their program.

“In the past six years, St. Stephen Martyr has had over 13 CSAA Champion or Runner Up Girls basketball teams,” said Laemmle.

And recently, his girls’ programs have seen success over the holidays.

“Our 7/8 grade and 5/6 grade girls’ number one teams both won their Christmas tournaments,” said Laemmle. “We have multiple undefeated teams, and we are at our halfway point of the season. We are looking for another strong finish to the season.”


Laemmle credits great leaders for the success on and off the court at SSM.

“I think it starts with great coaches and volunteers,” said Laemmle. “The volunteers are passionate and great role models for the kids. That rubs off on the kids and feeds off into a larger cycle. That’s where our basketball program is now.”


In his fourth year as athletic director, Laemmle has seen dedicated athletes come in and out of the program with attitudes for greatness. And, he’s also seen a passion that has taken his student athletes to the next level.


“A lot of our kids play in high school,” said Laemmle. “We’ve had 22 girls play high school basketball since 2007. I think the long-term goals start at SSM in preschool and kindergarten when we start to teach fundamentals and love of the game. It starts early, and the students go on to pursue goals in high school.”


As far as goals for the end of the year, Laemmle says his teams think about the CSAA Championships.


“The championships are the pinnacle of the season,” said Laemmle. “But overall, we want the student athletes to learn from a great experience. Basketball is down the list of priorities from things like religion and family, but it teaches life lessons. We first want to make sure we are cultivating good Christian values.”


Along with teambuilding activities such as Thanksgiving dinners and service projects, Laemmle says the surroundings for success off the court pair well with a great facility on the court.


“Our recently new gym was built in 2001, and it has been invaluable to us as a basketball program,” said Laemmle. I think it’s one of the best places to host games and leagues in the city.”

Along with Laemmle’s girls’ basketball program, Jeff Richards is the coordinator for the boys’ basketball teams at SSM. Laemmle says the boys’ side of the program is improving and aiming high for future points.


“The boys’ program been on the rise the past couple of years,” said Laemmle. “One of our "A" teams won its first CSAA championship a couple years ago for the first time in the past fifteen years. They are definitely going in the right direction as well.”


With all of the excitement around the city with basketball, Laemmle says he wants to keep his teams excited to win--- but in the right way.


Said Laemmle: “We just want to get better every single day while learning lessons with Christian values. We know it will fall into place if you work hard every single day.”


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