June 27th, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Jim Masyada

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Jim Masyada
The St. Aloysius PWV girls 5th/6th grade field hockey team / photo from Jim Masyada

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 CSAA Field Hockey teams are ready to enter their tournament period after a solid month of league play. It is a bonus that our city has a long relationship with this sport and we often see knowledgeable young women coaching in the program. Jim Masyada, at St. Aloysius PWV, is somewhat of an exception to that rule. Growing up in Pennsylvania, he participated in baseball and football, but he doesn’t claim to have ever played ice hockey, which is nearly endemic to that state. It’s a pleasure to spotlight someone who has been converted to the sport of field hockey and continues to enjoy his coaching role.

Jim and his wife Melissa have two daughters and a son. Their oldest daughter, Allison, now plays field hockey at Ballard, and probably was the inspiration for Jim to give the sport a try. Mackenzie presently plays for St. Aloysius and their brother, Jackson, is involved in year-round sports activities at the school. The Masyada family is well prepared for the next few weeks and looks forward to a great tourney.

The CSAA Field Hockey championships are scheduled for June 27th at Assumption HS and we wish all the teams GOOD LUCK as they begin tournament play.

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

I started coaching at the CSAA level in 2007.  Prior to then I worked a lot of hours with my career. It was then that I realized that my kids were growing up in front of my eyes, and I was not as active of a parent with them as I wanted to be. So when the opportunity arose I jumped in feet first. In the past six years I have coached four different sports.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved? 

The head coach of St Aloysius 6th grade Field Hockey team at that time was Pete Latino and he asked if I could help out at practice one day. After about a week I was hooked.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

During the past six years I have been head coach or an assistant coach for the following sports:  Field Hockey six years, Football two years, Soccer two years and Basketball one year.

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

After every practice and prior to every game we pray the Our Father as a team and at the end we ask St Aloysius to pray for us. This always puts the game and practice in perspective.

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

After one of our Field Hockey games Yasser Hyatt Khan the Director of IFHCK (International Field Hockey Club of Kentucky) pulled me aside and explained to me and showed me that you do not have to yell at the girls during the game to get them to do what you want. You must be a teacher first and then the girls will follow. Players need to learn to think for themselves on the field. Since then I talk to him frequently to get advice and guidance. If you come to one of our games you will see that I am still a work in progress.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach?  

When I started coaching I made a list of personal goals for the season and I still follow them today. I have not accomplished all of them but I work at it every day. They include: have fun, teach the sport, teach Christian values, spend quality time with my kids, win a CSAA title.

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

Coaching brings us together. We try and make every game a family event. Be it Field Hockey, Football or Soccer - any other sport, we always try and make it important.  

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

Last year when we lost in the 6th grade Field Hockey finals the girls had tears in their eyes. It was at that time when I knew that I had been able to instill in them a passion for a sport that I have grown to love.  


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