November 21st, 2012

Elementary Excellence: Notre Dame Academy

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


Elementary Excellence: Notre Dame Academy
Notre Dame Academy football at the snap

 An overview of the ND athletic program

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that 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.

With the CSAA fall sports season coming to a close, Notre Dame Athletic Director Brian McCauley took a look back at the Saints successful football season and previewed the upcoming basketball season.

Notre Dame’s 7th/8th grade football team finished the 2012 campaign as Toy Bowl runners up after losing only two games with Tommy Scott at the helm. While McCauley believes Scott’s a superb coach, he attributes their success to the program as a whole.

“Although Tom Scott is an excellent football coach, I believe the success of our program goes deeper than one person,” said McCauley. “It comes down to continuity, dedication, and a desire to teach young men the game of football and prepare them to play at the next level.”

McCauley believes continuity leads to a successful athletic program at the 5th/6th and 7th/8th grade level. The 2012 football season was Scott’s first, but Scott plans to coach the Saints for the time being.   

“Tom Scott coached our 5th & 6th grade team since the inception of Notre Dame before moving up this season to take over the 7th & 8th grade team,” said McCauley. “One of Tom’s assistants, Danny Bickel, who was with him every year at the 5th & 6th grade level, is now the head coach of that team.  Both Scott and Bickel are long time football coaches at NDA and our plan is for them to remain in those positions for the foreseeable future.”

At the 3rd/4th grade level, tenured coaches are harder to come by due to parents moving up along with their kids.

“Continuity is generally not the theme with 3rd and 4th grade coaches,” said McCauley. “Coaches at that level come from our pool of parents and a head coach usually only holds that position for a maximum of two years. Then they move up with their kids, however there is a great deal of support from our coaches at the 6th and 8th grade levels around strategy, setting up practices, and sharing football knowledge.”

For the first time this year Notre Dame hosted 5th/6th and 7th/8th grade football games after making upgrades to Joey Carter Field.

“Due to the closing of the St. Denis’ football field, this football season was our first in hosting 5th-8th grade CSAA league games at St. Lawrence on the campus of Notre Dame Academy,” said McCauley. “This represented a lot of work, by a lot of people to both build and maintain the facilities at St. Lawrence. We humbly believe that we have one of the best CSAA football facilities in the city of Louisville.”

Football wasn’t the only successful fall sport at Notre Dame this year. The Saints volleyball program made headlines throughout the city tournament this past season.

“This past season we had 9 volleyball teams,” said McCauley. “Our 5th & 6th grade No. 1 team advanced to City Championship game and lost and our 7th & 8th No. 1 team advanced to the semi-finals in the City Tournament.”

Now that football and volleyball are over, McCauley turns his attention towards basketball

Basketball is our largest sport at NDA in terms of teams and players,” said McCauley. “This year we have twenty teams competing in CSAA leagues.”

McCauley expects several of his teams to do well but one team in particular stands out in his eyes.

“One team stands out this year, and that’s our 7th & 8th grade boy’s No. 1 team,” said McCauley.  “That same group won the City Championship two years ago when they were in the 5th & 6th grade league. We expect them to be just as talented this year, and hopefully compete for another championship.”

Winning may be a key to an athlete success while attending Notre Dame, but McCauley wants his athletes to develop a sense of pride.

“There are a lot of life lessons to be learned through sports such as hard work, dedication, handling adversity, winning graciously, and losing honorably,” said McCauley. “Another thing is the memories that the children will keep with them forever.  Memories of being involved, playing with friends, competing for NDA, and the pride in saying I went to Notre Dame Academy.”

 

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