September 5th, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Jennifer Hodge

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Jennifer Hodge
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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

One does not know when they might be called upon to coach a team in sports; much less what sport may need their help. Often a school’s AD or other family members at the school might suggest “you” to help out. And best of all, you may be pleasantly surprised how enjoyable that experience will be for you.

In the case of Jennifer Hodge, the girls’ 4th grade volleyball coach at Holy Family School; she has had the experience of growing up in a home with a Dad who coached and was involved in sports in multiple ways. Of course there were no guarantees of her interest in coaching, but it sure put the possibilities in a positive perspective.

And, Jennifer had the experience of playing volleyball, softball and basketball when younger. Growing up at St. Gabriel, she later attended Mercy and Manual HS before attending college. Now married to Zach, they are parents to Addison and Emily although her “family” has now grown substantially with her second “head coaching” position.

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

Last year (2011) I was asked to help out with coaching volleyball at Holy Family. I coached my daughter on the 7th and 8th grade B team. 

2 - Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved? 

The athletic director Mike Jones asked me if I would coach. He got that idea on the suggestion of my friend Jena. They were in need of another coach for the B team.

3 - What sports did you coach and for how long?

I have been an assistant coach for one year with my daughter’s softball team. This is my second year at Holy Family.  I am now coaching the 3rd and 4th graders. 

4 - What's the connection with your faith (stewardship) & giving your time to young student athletes?

I actually enjoy coaching! It allows me to give my time to my church and children’s school. It is something that I know I can do to give back to the school and church community.

5. Who was the most influential person on your coaching career? Why? (Could be former coach, parent, teammate, spouse)

My dad and my coach - Ron Bierly!  My dad has put in a lot of time coaching kids. It gives him pleasure teaching them not only how to play the sport, but also to play as a team. By that, he hopes to show them how to give of themselves and how to treat others.  Dad coached for most of my life.  

I remember him taking me to football and baseball games at Fern Creek and St. Gabriel when I was very little. He coached basketball and softball as well; that is where he spent most of his coaching career.

He has touched so many children and their family’s lives in our community and many as they get older still remember him and appreciate him so much. Dad gave a lot of time in our little area of Fern Creek as Athletic Director and coach at St. Gabriel. He also coached at Fern Creek Little League and was also Assistant Athletic Director at Assumption High School.

6 - What are your major themes/principles as a coach?

I want my kids to not only learn the fundamentals of the game, but to learn how to work as a team and make friends. Most of all, I want them TO HAVE FUN! I tell them I like to win, but it’s only a game. As long as they’re having fun, learning the game, and working together, I’m satisfied. 

7 -What does coaching bring to you, your family?

I get to work with my girls.  My husband is also my assistant coach.

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

I like the feeling when one of my team understands something and then helps to teach others to understand. It is enough to make you smile! They are kids, it doesn’t always work out that way, but when I have a young kid volunteer to have the “not so best player” on the team to be picked on her team….well, it makes you feel good. And when they tell you how much fun they had and what they have learned then I know I have done my job.



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