May 8th, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: Joe Wright

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Joe Wright
The Wright family / photo courtesy of 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

Joe Wright has been a parishioner at St. Stephen Martyr for as long as he can remember and graduated from there in 1981. He then went on to graduate from St. Xavier High School in 1985.

His wife Karen was a parishioner at St. Elizabeth and graduated from there and then attended Mercy Academy.

Karen and Joe have been married for 24 years and have twin sons Maxwell and Zachary who also
graduated from St. Stephen Martyr and are now sophomores at St. Xavier High School.

They enjoy just about all sports and anything that Maxwell and Zachary are involved in. Currently, Maxwell plays lacrosse for St. X and True and Zachary plays ice hockey for St. X and is a part of
the sports medicine program at St. X. 

The Wright family is also involved in Boy Scouts where Joe is the assistant scoutmaster. Maxwell and Zachary are Life Scouts and a project away from earning their Eagle Scout Rank.

The family loves camping, mountain biking, fishing, and just about anything outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

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

I grew up playing sports for St. Stephen Martyr in the CSAA. Then, a couple of years after graduating from SSM I was asked by Margaret Bowen if I would help her coach a fifth/sixth grade softball team at SSM.

The team was mostly fourth graders and I think we won one game that season but we had a great time coaching the girls and the girls had a great time just getting to play.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

Originally it was Mrs. Bowen then it was just being involved in my sons teams, coaching them and getting to spend  time with them.

What sports are you involved in and for how long?

I am not currently coaching any sports but I am currently on the Athletic Board at SSM and have been for five years now.

When I was coaching, I coached basketball for six years, track for three years, volleyball for three years, cross country for two years, golf for two years, swimming for two years, football for one year and softball for one year at SSM, and t-ball/baseball for 17 years at Germantown.

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

While the time coaching did apply to stewardship, I did it because I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed being around the young men and women and teaching them about the sport; sportsmanship and seeing them each learn improve from practice to practice.  Hopefully, they learned from me what sports should be all about.

Even though on occasion they learned from my mistakes when I explained to them afterward what I did wrong and what I should have done and how I should have handled it instead.

Who was the most influential person on your volunteer role? Why?

Two people: My Dad- Pat Wright and a coach of mine: Coach Kevin Kronauer. My Dad: he was and is still ALWAYS involved in everything. Taught me that volunteering and helping out is important and is just as good for you as it is for the ones you help and the community as a whole.

Coach Kevin: He somehow always got us to play as hard as we could, play together as a team, play to win, accept when we didn't win, practice even harder for the next game and always have fun doing it.

What are your major themes/principles as a volunteer?

I think you should have fun, show respect and work as a team. Sports should be fun, if you are not having fun then you should probably not be playing or you may be playing for the wrong reasons.

Respect everyone involved in the game – teammates, opposing team, coaches, referees and so on.

Win or lose you shake all of their hands after the game and tell them good game. I try to remind them that everything you do reflects on your school, coaches and family. Represent all of them with class, dignity and respect.

I then stress teamwork. You have to teach them that no one is going to win a game alone. It takes the team to have a chance to win, in sports and in life.

What does your athletic role at the school bring to you, your family?

I think that athletics has helped me stay close to my sons and allowed me to spend a lot of quality time with them. It has also allowed me to meet many people, make new friends and to get to know other parents, my sons friends and kids in all grades.

I believe that coaching is more of a benefit and blessing to me than it is to the kids. I have learned more from these young men and women than I could have ever taught them.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have as a volunteer at St. Stephen Martyr?

I would have to say the best memories would have to be seeing the smiles and joy on the kids faces after a big win or even that first win and seeing that look on their face when they ‘get It’, whatever it was you were trying to teach them. These few simple things make all the time and effort worth it!



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