June 17th, 2011

Hyland's Heroes: Tom Schladand

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Tom Schladand
photo courtesy of Allison Schladand

Assumption dad assist young sports teams 

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 editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

The nature of volunteering does not often lend itself to recognition. And this week’s Hyland’s Hero, Tom Schladand, is no exception.

A quiet, reserved man by nature, he deflected much of his volunteering story as just “trying to help kids get better, help them improve themselves.” He has accomplished that feat in spades.

As someone who was raised in the Louisville Catholic school system and a 1976 graduate of St. Xavier high school, Schladand has worn several volunteer hats working with grade school and high school programs in many capacities. A fixture on the St. Stephen Martyr sidelines in girl’s basketball and football, he also helped the Assumption lacrosse team as scoreboard operator the past two years.

His daughters Kelly (AHS ’04), Allison (AHS ’11) and Taylor (AHS ’12) have all been involved in athletics at St. Stephen, as well as at Assumption. His list of contributions to the Louisville Catholic sports community is quite distinguished.

·       Football? He coached St. Stephen Martyr for 8 years.

·       Basketball? Coached the girls 5th/6th grade teams as well as the 8th grade team.

·       Lacrosse? Volunteer as scoreboard “flipper” at the Assumption Green field for the AHS lacrosse games.

For eight years he governed the sidelines of the St. Stephen Martyr Elementary football program. And like most volunteer coaching opportunities, it gave him a chance to give back what he was given as a young athlete.

“Just coaching the kids would really make me smile and enjoy myself,” Schladand remarked. “Seeing them improve and seeing them progress always put a big smile on my face. Whether you see them at a fish fry or at a Derby party, I love seeing those kids come back. I hope I see them in my later years someday at a fish fry when they come back to see their families and friends.”

His daughter Allison was a first team selection to LouisvilleCatholicSports.com’s inaugural All-Catholic Lacrosse team and Taylor plays field hockey. It was Allison’s junior year that Tom started to operate the tiny flip scoreboard to help parents and fans across the field keep track of the scoring. He’d stand quietly, stoically on the sideline as he watched his daughter and her teammates score plenty of goals the past two seasons.

“Watching the girls play just makes you feel proud as a dad,” he said. “Seeing them do well in their sports, achieve some goals and improve in their four years of high school just makes you feel good. They may not have had the success with state championships and such, but it’s great to see them improve.”

He emphasized how much enjoyment he got from coaching players who may not have shown much aptitude for sport, but then something would click and that young girl or boy would suddenly understand their role in the game.

“There was always one or two kids who you really didn’t think they’d do very well, whether they were scared to hit or they weren’t really involved,” he explained. “But then they’d make a big shot, or make that one BIG hit and they would figure it out that they didn’t get hurt and that they were able to do the job. Then they’d progress and get better and you feel real proud about those types of kids. Makes you feel good.”

As many volunteer coaches can attest, their time is spent molding and developing more than just field hockey or football or soccer or lacrosse skills. It is about teaching values and lessons that can be put to use every day, in every aspect of life.

“More than anything, I tried to stress good sportsmanship; to do things the right way and to play the right way,” he stated simply. “Play clean, play hard and let your actions do the talking. At the end of the day, let your play speak for you.”


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