January 8th, 2014

Hyland's Heroes: Aaron Lanning

Staff Report

Hyland's Heroes: Aaron Lanning
Aaron Lanning is the male on the left / photo submitted by Aaron Lanning

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.

Aaron Lanning is familiar with the Catholic community in Louisville as he has lived here his whole life and attended Catholic schools.

Lanning is a graduate of St. Barnabas grade school and Trinity High School. After high school, Lanning attended the University of Louisville.

Now Lanning works for his family business, Lanning Chemical, and works alongside with his Uncle Phil, and his brothers Brian, Brad, and Jon.

He has been married to his wife Angie for nearly 18 years and has two daughters, Amanda (14) and Ashleigh (11). They both attend St. Albert the Great. Lanning also has two dogs, Kobe and Mile, whom they consider family members.

Lanning is currently the chairperson for the St. Albert Sports Ministry program and runs the flag football and softball programs. He also coaches volleyball and basketball.

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

I started coaching my oldest in t-ball and that transferred over to St. Albert when she became old enough to play sports there. I think I have coached or assisted on over 50 teams since my girls started playing sports. I started our softball program after a few year hiatus and that was my first attempt at coaching in the CSAA when Amanda was in the third grade.

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

I slowly started to coach volleyball and basketball as I was asked by our girls AD Joe McKune to help out. I stayed out of leadership roles in our booster club as I felt like I needed more experience to really participate.

I ran our golf scramble one year and really got to know a bunch of people involved at St. Albert and our booster club. When our booster club went to an Athletic Ministry they wanted some new folks involved and I signed up to help in some capacity.

Our new pastor Fr. Wayne Jenkins asked if I would be the chair. I was truly honored and really felt good about the direction our sports programs were headed with Fr. Wayne coming to St. Albert.

While we do all the same functions that a standard booster club does we also have our kids attend mass as a team, do a service project and try to implement policies that create a community atmosphere.

The goal of Sports Ministry program at St. Albert is to promote Christian competition. Christian competition is embodied in the word respect. Those who participate in the athletic ministry in any way are expected to show respect for themselves and those they encounter at all times and in all situations. As chair of the Sports Ministry I have tried to create a sense of family or community at St. Albert.

Sports aren’t the most important thing at a Catholic grade school however it does help create lifelong friendships and relationships that last lifetimes. Coaching is what led me into the leadership role at St. Albert. I am truly honored to be in that spot and I take it very seriously. 

3) What sports did you coach (do you coach) and how long have you coached there?

I have coached softball for five seasons, volleyball for four seasons, girls’ flag football for one season and basketball I’ve coached both my girls every year since 3rd grade.

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

I truly love coaching kids. There is nothing better than watching a player figure out that they can do something they couldn’t do before because I helped them. For me it’s all about them becoming good teammates. I want them to care about each other as well as care about the team. My faith helps me lead them to whatever our goal as a team may be. I have coached teams with great records and teams that struggled to win games so every team I coach has a different set of goals as far as victories go or how far we can get in a tournament situation.

6) What are your major themes/principals as a coach?

I always have three goals for all my players – have fun, improve and compete. By compete I don’t necessarily mean winning. I mean really putting effort into what you are doing and not just going through the motions.

We improve by working on fundamentals as much as possible. I try to do fun things at practice that perhaps they don’t even realize they are working to get better. I always believe defense is more important than offense because you have way more control as a defender than as an offensive player. I try to make sure my teams always strive to play as tough on defense as they possibly can.

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

I try to borrow something from every coach I have ever had or have coached with. My dad, my dad’s friends and my friend’s dads all coached me growing up and I consider myself a mixture of all of those guys.

Some would praise you and some would really get after you. I try to coach every kid as an individual and figure out what buttons to push to get the maximum out of each player. I always try to figure out what I can do better as a coach next season once the season is over. I take a whole lot of pride in coaching and teaching and I want to continue to strive to be a better coach.   

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

The best part for me is to get to spend time with my kids. I also enjoy coaching their friends and getting to know them and their parents. I really appreciate my girls playing for me because it allows me to hang out and be around them without them really knowing it. It’s tough sometimes when I have to choose which game to go to if I have a conflict, that’s the worst part. I always look at each team as a type of family too. I want my teams to care about each other because that makes a good team great and a great team exceptional.

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

As I said I have coached great teams and teams that struggle and many great memories have come out of all of my teams and their seasons. I’d have to say watching my girls get their first hits, baskets, touchdowns etc. is my top moment. I am a Dad first and there is nothing better than being the first one to greet them after a big shot or a double play or high fiving them as they come back to the dugout after smashing one down the line. Those are the moments I look forward to and dread ending. I feel like I have a gift of helping kids reach their potential in sports. I take it very seriously and I am thankful every day I get to spend coaching.  


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