August 23rd, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Stephen Martyr

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Elementary Excellence: St. Stephen Martyr
photo from John Bersot Jr.

New leadership, new direction at St. Stephen Martyr

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

In the past year, St. Stephen Martyr has experienced a change of leadership on and off the field. The Catholic community has a new priest, Father Harry Gelthaus, and they’ve welcomed a new Athletic Director to the school, Kevin Pendigraph.

John Bersot Jr. is in his third year as the Assistant Athletic Director and is in his fourth year with St. Stephen Martyr athletics. He has seen the changes to the athletic department since Father Gelthaus took over and so far, he likes what he sees.

For example, Bersot Jr. explained: “Anyone who is a sports coordinator has to be on the athletic board, which makes more accountability to knowing what’s going on.”

Not only has the leadership changed, but the athletic program has merged with Holy Family and Nativity Academy for particular sports teams.

Fr. Gelthaus has made some major changes to the athletic program at St. Stephen Martyr since he joined about a year ago. In addition to the sports coordinators being members of the athletic board, Bersot Jr. explained other changes with SSM sports.

Every coach is now required to sign an agreement before they can coach.

“For instance, every coach has to go to mass on Sunday, start every practice or game with a prayer, and we all have to be good Christian role models,” said Bersot Jr. “I think this is a good thing.”

With his years of experience with SSM athletics, Bersot Jr. has been helping Pendigraph transition into the St. Stephen Martyr community.

“The new athletic director is a retired Jefferson County sheriff’s officer. He also worked for a security company. So far, he has done a good job, but he is still learning things regarding athletics,” said Bersot Jr.

Pendigraph has been an assistant football coach at St. Stephen for the past three years. He graduated from Jeffersontown High school where he played football.  He also coached the 3rd and 4th grade basketball “B Team” at SSM.

The St. Stephen Martyr community has welcomed Pendigraph as he assumes the new role as athletic director.

“St. Stephen Martyr is a great parish; Father Gelthaus is very supportive of our athletics. The board has been very supportive of me and we are working as a team,” said Pendigraph.

As Pendigraph gets settled in, he has set several goals for the 2012-2013 school year.

“My goals are to have better communication, better equipment, and to get as many kids playing sports at St. Stephen Martyr as possible,” said Pendigraph. “I want to make sure St. Stephen Martyr athletics, and coaches are in compliance with the CSAA. I also need to make sure that the kids are having fun.”

Bersot Jr. has set his own goals for this year.

“I want to create Christian role models for the kids, make sure the kids are going to church, and learning good values such as sportsmanship,” said Bersot Jr. “Of course, we want to win, but that’s not the main goal right now. Teamwork and being good Christians is what we are trying to emphasize.”


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