September 26th, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Laura McCulloch

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Laura McCulloch

The CSAA is midway into the fall sports season and teams and coaches are probably beginning to look forward to the championships in the next few weeks. Laura McCulloch, who coaches St. Nicholas 8th grade volleyball team, may be just one of a few who understands that looking forward is a good thing, but concentrating on the “here and now” might be more important. Laura has coached for enough years to have gained that insight.

As a former high school volleyball player at Male high school, Laura found herself drawn into coaching the sport when her son, then a 4th grader, was on a team needing a coach. Things simply have grown from that point on. Married to Clarke McCulloch, they are the parents of Kyle and Logan, who are well beyond elementary school now. Both of their sons enjoyed playing multiple sports in the CSAA program, but for Laura it ended up being the sport of volleyball, and the players she coached, that connected. The CSAA is pleased to have her service on the Volleyball Board as well.

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

I started coaching with CSAA when my son Kyle was a 4th grader at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and wanted to play volleyball. His team needed a coach and I volunteered.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved? 

My parents were involved with coaching at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It seemed natural to step in and coach. I realized that coaching was a great opportunity to meet people and be involved with the Church and community.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

I have always coached volleyball. This is my 16th year for CSAA.  I have been coaching the girl’s 8A division for 12 years. I also coach club volleyball at KIVA (Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy) and this will be my 11th year at KIVA.

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

I return every year for the kids and families of St. Nicholas Academy. I do feel coaching is my calling. I talk to my players about leadership and respect and being role models for the younger grades.

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

There have been many people who have influenced me, beginning with my parents, but Ron Kordes has been the greatest influence. He took a leap of faith while I was at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and brought me on board at KIVA. I have learned so much from Ron not just about the game but also dealing with certain situations and that has been so valuable. I have had the opportunity to coach so many amazing athletes and Ron has been a big part of that. With the opportunity to coach at KIVA early in my career, I gained the knowledge and confidence to bring that back to CSAA volleyball.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach? 

I am competitive, there’s no doubt about that. I seem to have the ability to take a less skilled player and develop them in to a better player along with increasing their confidence. My players have fun while working hard. I push team concepts along with respect for each other. We can’t succeed if there isn’t respect for one another, along with opponents, officials and coaches. Leave it all on the court, whether we win or lose - no regrets that we wish we would have tried a little harder.

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

Coaching has brought many friendships and connections to our family. I am truly blessed to meet so many people and I know I have a played a role helping a player improve, on and off the court. Years later, when a player stops and speaks or gives a hug and talks about how much fun they had that season they played for me, I know I made an impact.

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

There are many fond memories. While winning a championship is great; the best memories are the kids and families. My first City Championship and watching my St. Nicholas team last year reach the City finals are two of my favorites.


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