May 6th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Albert the Great

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Albert the Great
photo from St. Albert the Great

 Sports Ministry is first priority in the game







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


St. Albert the Great Grade School’s Parish Community works diligently to teach young student athletes the true lessons behind competitive play.

Just ask Athletic Director Joe McKune. He will tell you that he looks to athletics as a way to inform kids that sports are about more than winning.

“Everyone wants to win, but it’s not all about winning. It’s more about the kids being happy, having fun, and getting to participate. Just this past year, our program has moved to reform our booster club to an athletic ministry program. That’s in the process of reforming right now because we felt there is a need for more of a ministry program. We wanted to open it up to draw more involvement from the parish,” said McKune.

And with a focus on ministry, the program looks to reach out to the community and have the kids involved in service.

“For instance, starting this fall, each team will be required to do a service project because it is about giving back,” said McKune.

McKune, the girls’ athletic director since 2008, works closely with the boys’ athletic director, Mark Crider, and a committee at the parish to help develop the Vikings’ sports program. McKune added that athletics help the young athletes develop mentally, physically and spiritually.

“Athletics help children grow mentally, and it teaches them accountability and responsibility. We teach that every child on the team has a role,” said McKune.

St. Albert the Great, located on Girard Drive, is tucked away in a neighborhood setting among homes and families. While known to the community to offer a Blue Ribbon School, the athletic program offers all of the CSAA sports from football to golf.

“We have a ton of kids coming back year after year playing the same sports,” said McKune. “Overall, we want to offer a good experience for everyone from the child, up to the coaches and committee.”

St. Albert has enjoyed success in all areas throughout the years, and McKune pointed out a few highlights for the sports.

“This past year, out of 16 of CSAA Basketball (Teams) Tournaments, girls and boys, our program had 11 in finals in city this past year,” said McKune. “All of our basketball teams are very strong.”

McKune added that St. Albert also showcases strong volleyball, field hockey and soccer players.  Along with success in different sports, the parish put together a couple programs recently for the young ones to start learning at an early age.

“We’ve created a second grade flag football league and opened it up to other parishes,” said McKune. “It’s been very successful. Also, this year we started a first and second grade basketball league; and we opened that to other parishes as well. We get the kids out there early and they enjoy it.”

St. Albert recently renovated its grounds to offer its student athletes an improved facility. McKune added that the parish has long range planning as it looks to grow its ministry.

“We just got a new gym floor in the summer of 2010, and we have wanted that for awhile,” said McKune. “We do have some planning to someday have another gymnasium or some kind of renovation with that.”

As St. Albert the Great looks to the future, McKune says he stays focused on helping young athletes become great student athletes and people.

Said McKune: “As an AD, I wanted to get involved and give back, and it’s been a very rewarding process. We try to grow spiritually, and we want the children to have as much fun participating in sports programs as possible. It’s about the chance to compete and participate, and have fun.”


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