February 7th, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Paul Buddeke

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Paul Buddeke
Holy Trinity 6th grade team #6 with head coach Paul Buddeke (back row, right) / photo from Paul Buddeke

Buddeke honors his coaching heroes in his work

The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland. "Hyland's Heroes" is a series of profiles that 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 Holy Trinity basketball program is one of the largest in the Catholic School Athletic Association, all of which indicates that they require a big number of volunteers to help make the program run efficiently. Paul Buddeke is one who has stepped up to help them for a number of years; he is the coach of the 6th grade boys’ #6 team.

Paul has enjoyed playing sports since he was a youngster at St. Agnes and continued that interest while a student at Saint Xavier HS. Football, basketball, track and baseball kept him active through the entire year as a young man. Now married, he and his wife Melissa remain interested in their children’s world of athletics. It’s a good thing Paul has had the “year round” mentality for so long. Jeff, Corinne, John Paul, Brad and Luke have multiple sports interest which keeps the Buddeke family very active.

When and how did you get your start with the CSAA? Why so?

In 1973, there was a need for an assistant coach for St. Raphael’s 7th/8th grade football team.


Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

The pastor knew I really enjoyed the game of football. He gave my name to the head coach.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

I’ve coached 8th grade football on and off for 25 years and been around basketball teams of all ages, on and off, for about 20 years.


What's the connection with your faith and giving your time to these young student athletes?

I played football for 9 years. Those who came before me set the bar. These coaches gave their time and talent to teach me the game and more. I felt it was my duty and obligation to do the same.


Who was the most influential person on your coaching career? Why?

There were three gentlemen who had a tremendous influence on me to coach. My grade school football coach Charlie Plamp, my grade school basketball coach, Fred “Buzzy” Heim, and one of my high school football coaches, Bill Glaser. They had me believing that whatever I put my mind to, I would succeed. These three men had common threads - Be enthusiastic (or have fire in the belly), have a love for the game, (passion for teaching it), and desire to see your players excel in more ways than sports. I’ve always felt like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach?

Coaching is so much more than teaching a sport. A true coach educates his players on how to live life. My first rule is to have fun. If you’re not having fun, you need to go find something else to do. Next, understand you’ve been blessed by God and have the ability to play the game. Third, respect for your teammates, the other team, the referees, and yourself. If there is to be any yelling, that’s my job.

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

Over the years, I’ve coached some of my children. With that in mind, they have been the recipients of my ideals and my philosophy on sports and life in a school sports setting. More or less, I gave my children and their friends an extra dose of what dad believes in. My wife and I try everyday to teach them to be enthusiastic about everything they do.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of coaching?

I have two! The first was about a 6th grader named Joe. While coaching his 6th grade basketball team at Holy Trinity, I found this group to be a pretty good team. Joe had played basketball for 3 years and had never scored a basket. He was tall for his age with a lot of enthusiasm, but lacked coordination. I put him in on the block with these instructions, keep your hands high, catch and shoot, rebound and shoot till you make it. Joe was our second leading scorer and helped us to the city championship game.


The second was a trip to the grocery store to pick up some things with my wife. As we walked through the store, I looked down an aisle and saw a group of teenage guys on the other end looking at something. We continued walking to the refrigerator aisle and we heard “hey coach!” I turned around and one of my old players, now a senior in high school, came up to me and greeted us with a big smile and a hardy handshake. He introduced himself to my wife and told us what he was up to and that he was getting ready for college. He thanked me for all I did for him. He walked back and joined his friends. How can it get better than that!



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