April 3rd, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: Chris Mackey

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Chris Mackey
The Mackey family / photo provided by the family

The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland Insurance. "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.

Chris Mackey might be referred to as “a product of the system.” He grew up participating in the CSAA sports programs and was a coach’s son as well. He could have rebelled against the system, but instead, he has embraced the organization and honors his family for their sharing of knowledge and skills as coaches.

Growing up in the St. Matthews area, Chris attended Mother of Good Counsel and then proceeded to Trinity. He graduated from UK and is now married to Colleen. They are parents to two children who keep them very active because they love and participate in so many sporting activities: volleyball, softball, baseball, football, basketball, soccer, gymnastics and golf. This is enough to get you through the entire year. However, because Chris had “sports” mentors in his own family, he has made time to follow in their footsteps and he volunteers to coach at Our Lady of Lourdes.

All of this has come to a full circle for Chris because this year his mom, Debbie, is helping him coach the boys’ volleyball team. Be assured, they are having a blast! Somehow I doubt anyone is referring to her as “Grandma,” – nothing seems to keep the spirt of youth alive as coaching elementary youngsters.

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

I grew up playing sports in the catholic community at MGC, so I have been involved with the CSAA since I was a kid. My parents were involved in coaching. I bring saw them a positive influence to the kids they coached. Now that I am the one coaching, I try and bring that positivity to my teams. I generally stick to the sports I know the best when it comes to volunteering my time for coaching. I feel the kids can sense if you enjoy the sport or not. Having grown up in Louisville, it is fun to compete against people I grew up with who are also coaching. It is great to see our kids competing against one another, and shaking hands after a game.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved? 

I believe I was asked by the volleyball coordinator at our school. He was a fellow parishioner as well as a neighbor. We are all very close at Our Lady of Lourdes, so really it is friends asking other friends to help. We just want our kids to have the best experience possible.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

I've helped here and there with soccer, flag football and tee-ball, but I try and focus on basketball and volleyball. I've been coaching for about 5 years now.

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

Our Lady of Lourdes is a full stewardship parish and therefore, we are encouraged to give freely of our time spent in prayer and mass, our gifts of treasure, and our talents to enhance our community. I enjoy sports and engaging the kids in skill development, so coaching is one aspect of fully embracing a stewardship lifestyle. Remembering that my role is not just to be a "coach", but also a Catholic who is practicing my faith, keeps things on the field and court in perspective. Our kids need positive role models while also learning parts of the game. It is easy to get wrapped up in winning and losing, but keeping God at the forefront helps to remind everyone what the real goal athletics should be. Sports teach a lot of life lessons, such as handling success in the right way while also experiencing disappointment at times.

There are a lot of parishioners that coach three to four sports, thankfully we have individuals like that. I think that if my children are playing sports, I should help in some way, whether it's coaching, working concessions, clean up or whatever it may be. And since so many at OLOL do embrace stewardship giving up my time is a little easier knowing that there are others to support me and my family.

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

I'd say my parents influenced me the most to begin coaching. When I was growing up they coached travel volleyball as well as volleyball at Sacred Heart and MGC. They loved it, and it was their second life for a while. It's fun to see them reconnect with players they once coached who now have kids of their own.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach?  

I think we preach teamwork and respect the most. I often have the team shake the referees’ hands after the game, not just the other team's players. We remind the kids that they represent their parents and their school. I try to remind them to work hard in practice and then enjoy games. I encourage them to give each other high fives and verbal encouragement so play stays positive. Our Pastor, Father Scott, stresses that "Sunday is the first day of the school week" so we bring our faith to the kids throughout the season. We often pray at practice and at games. We also schedule a team Mass for each sport season. It reminds them that there is a bigger picture

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

Coaching keeps me even busier than usual, and it can be difficult to balance with work and personal life. However, I enjoy the bond it brings between my child, their teammates and me. It helps me to get to know my child's friends, and makes our Parish even tighter. We all are on the same journey.

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

One of the fondest memories in coaching was a couple of years ago. It was 4th grade boys volleyball so there was not an end of the year tournament. Throughout the year we had won some and lost some. However, the last game we made it Our Championship. We ended up winning and the boys doused me with their water and Gatorade. It was a successful year because the kids had fun and enjoyed it.


Recent Articles