July 11th, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Dr. Brett Hornback

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Dr. Brett Hornback
Brett Hornback / photo submitted by the Hornback family

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 should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

BRETT HORNBACK - 4th grade Baseball - St. Patrick School

The CSAA Baseball Tournament is an annual event that brings together hundreds of student-athletes, coaches and families in late June. St. Patrick School’s 4th grade team was coached this year by a local veterinarian, Dr. Brett Hornback. Though he grew up in Woodford County, he attended St. Leo and then Woodford County High School, the next decade of his life was committed to education – both at the University of Kentucky and Auburn University for Veterinarian training. Because he enjoyed sports throughout his young life, coaching was something he was drawn to early on so he took to coaching youth sports while in high school and college.

Dr. Hornback began his professional life in North Carolina and in Lexington, KY, but it was after moving to Louisville to establish his vet practice that his life was enhanced. Here he met and married his wife, Leslie, and was blessed with the birth of their two sons, Quinn and Spencer. His boys, St. Patrick and the CSAA can extend a gracious hand to Brett as it appears they are each big reasons for getting a busy man to volunteer his gift of time to youngsters through his love of sport.

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

I am a parishioner of St. Patrick Church and have two sons who love to play sports. I played sports growing up and felt it was time to give back as a volunteer coach. I have been involved with the CSAA for the past four years.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

I do not remember anyone in particular asking me to get involved. I love the competition and passion for Catholic sports in Louisville. It was probably my former coaches that I had as a youth who have had more to do with me getting involved in coaching sports than anyone else. I did not appreciate them as much then as I do now but I always looked up to them & respected their hard work. They were a positive role model in my young life.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

I currently coach the St. Patrick 3rd/4th grade baseball team and the Lyndon Indians machine-pitch baseball team at Lyndon Recreation. I have coached soccer, baseball, basketball and football from Pee Wee to the 3rd/4th grade levels so far. I started coaching soccer in youth leagues in Woodford County while I was still in high school.

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

My Catholic faith is very important in my desire to work with young kids. What better way to give toward stewardship than being involved with young kids? Teaching discipline, hard work, sacrifice and teamwork goes a long way in today’s world. I want to be a role model just like the coaches before me.

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

Actually, my two boys are the most influential people in relation to my coaching now. I doubt that I would be coaching in the CSAA if not for them. Through them, I have renewed my interest in coaching and remember how fun and rewarding it used to be when I started volunteer coaching in my high school and college days.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach? 

You have to have trust and respect for one another to start forming a meaningful relationship. Positive reinforcement and communication help initiate this process. The Celtic Athletic Ministry (CAM) at St. Patrick has a mission statement that I truly believe in: To create a competitive sports program that embraces and demonstrates our Catholic faith and values and ensures equal opportunities for all of our student athletes and adult volunteers. We are blessed at St. Patrick to have wonderful families and many great coaches (dads & moms) who volunteer their time and effort to help lead our youth in many of the sports programs. I love to take an ambitious group of young kids, regardless of skill level, and teach them that by working hard, trusting one another and doing their individual tasks to the best of their ability makes for a strong cohesive team and winning attitude. Having fun while learning is most important!

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

For me there is a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that you tried your best to make a small difference in someone’s life. It is rewarding to hear from parents that their child really enjoyed their experience on the team. The kids and their families become part of your own and you grow together to try to achieve something better.

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

I can remember when my oldest boy Quinn scored his first goal in a soccer game and he came running full blast into my arms while I was coaching and knocked both of us down onto the field. He was so excited, we were both crying, and I was very happy for him. Watching a kid’s face light up right after making a great play that they did not think was possible before and then gaining confidence from that experience is very rewarding. It is neat watching these kids grow up, but having a solid Catholic faith behind them surrounded by loving people makes you think that they have a great shot in life.


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