June 10th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Gabriel

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Gabriel
photo courtesy of Kyle McGinty

Athletic program leadership is a family affair

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 editor@catholicsportsnet.com.


When it comes to managing the St. Gabriel Leopards athletic program, it’s become a family thing.


Kyle McGinty, St. Gabriel athletic director, says he learned the ropes to grade school athletics from his father.


“My dad started as athletic director around 2001,” said McGinty. “When I went to Western Kentucky University, I would help him on the weekends. Around 2005, I transferred to University of Louisville, and I started to help him more on a day-to-day basis. When he took another position, the job opened up and I applied.”


Now McGinty, the full time Facility Manager and Athletic Director, says he spends his time taking care of athletics for the largest grade school in the Archdiocese.


“We have 741 students at the school,” said McGinty. “In athletics, we have a lot of participation. For instance, for football and volleyball alone this year, we will have 370 kids involved. We have about 400 kids involved in basketball.”


Along with participation, the Leopards have enjoyed success in a variety of sports.


“We won the Toy Bowl in football last year, and that was great,” said McGinty. “And for the girls, softball is one of our strongest sports. We offer a variety of sports including archery. For 2011-2012, we are looking to add bowling for the winter and lacrosse in the spring.”


With success for large quantities of student-athletes, McGinty says the school is looking to expand on its current landlocked area.


“It’s a challenge right now for us. We are trying to expand the school, especially the pre-kindergarten program. For us to keep up, we need to keep up growing our facilities. “


St. Gabriel is in the process of trying to acquire 28 acres about a mile and a half from the school’s campus.


“We don’t have athletic fields, and we spend around $25,000 renting gym space,” said McGinty. “We are really hoping to develop more athletic space soon.”


In the mist of trying to gain more space, the Leopard Athletic Staff is well organized, according to McGinty, and they aim to help the student athletes succeed in a variety of ways.


“We have a fall, winter and spring sports director, and they assist me in selecting coaches, equipment and uniforms,” said McGinty. “And we have an athletic board- three men and three women. It’s been very successful, and it’s good to have different perspectives and views on the board.”


With a large amount of student athletes to accommodate, the school still makes room for their pre-kindergarten program.


“We start young. Our pre-kindergarten programs offer t-ball, basketball, soccer and volleyball,” said McGinty. “For the kids in fourth grade and younger, the coaches try to convey participation and fun. As the kids get older, we want to help progress their skills and practice time.”


As McGinty watches the St. Gabriel students grow up in sports, he notices their skills flourish in the game. And, in parallel, it seems his own skills as athletic director have flourished under the guidance of his father.  


Said McGinty: “When my dad was athletic director, I was coaching basketball. Now, I’m athletic director, and he coaches football. The roles are reversed, but he still helps me. He showed me how to handle all the sports, and I saw how things were handled before I took the job. It’s been a good transition.”


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