July 31st, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: George Young

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: George Young
George Young's family / photo provided by 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.

George Young grew up in Louisville and graduated from Fern Creek High. While at Fern Creek, George wrestled and played football. Even though he didn’t grow up Catholic, his parent were involved with his church and emphasized the importance of giving back to the community.

After Fern Creek, he did a tour of duty in the Navy in San Diego before returning home to finish college at the University of Louisville. He’s happily married and has two children, Natalie, an eighth grader, and Zachary, a sixth grader. Both attend St. Albert the Great where coaches soccer, football, and volleyball.

When and how did you get your start with St. Albert the Great?

We came to St. Albert when my daughter was in kindergarten.  We were parishioners at St. Margret Mary but the kindergarten classes were very full and did not have a spot available for her.  We toured St. Albert and felt welcomed and were impressed with the school.  My wife and I always joked we knew this was a great fit when we found out the mascot was a Viking, because that was what we called the kids when they were being a bit more adventurous than we would like, little Vikings.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

Growing up with a strong basis for volunteerism bled over in to my adult life.  My wife and I spent many weekends before we had kids helping with Dare to Care and Kosair Charities.  But it wasn’t until we had kids and I started volunteering as a coach at the YMCA that I found something that I truly enjoyed doing as a volunteer, coaching.

What sports did or do you volunteer to help and for how long?

I have been coaching soccer at St. Albert since my son started there in kindergarten and have continued with his class and plan to do so until he graduates.  I have been coaching football as well since he was in second grade.  I started with his flag team and have continued with him until this year.  He has decide to focus on soccer this fall so I am helping the 3rd and 4th grade players learn the game of football and the St. Albert offense.  I never had the chance to coach my daughter until last year, she has always been involved in very specialized sports but her volleyball team needed a coach and I finally got the opportunity.

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

Having gone through RCIA shortly after joining St. Albert, I feel a connection with these young athletes as they are just learning about the Catholic faith and community.   The importance of community to us as Catholics is reflected in sports.

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

My parents showed me the importance of giving back to your community with their actions.  They were the youth ministers at church and have continued in multiple roles throughout the years and continue to volunteer to this day.  Their commitment to the community has been an inspiration.

What are your major themes/principles as a volunteer?

Our entire sports program has been working toward a new goal recently, one that is focused on what is best for the kids.  I have always felt that we are here to help the youth of our community grow to become better members of the community.  Sports allow you to teach life lessons in a way that is easy to understand. There will be hardships, there will be victories, but it is easier to overcome the hardships and obtain the victories with team work and individual integrity.  As a coach it is vital that you focus on these things so that you can bring out the best in your players and allow them to achieve more than victories on the field and help them to succeed at life.  I have a saying that my soccer team is probably tired of hearing but I believe it and I think I sums up my coaching, "Praise the pass not the goal, because without the pass there is no opportunity for the goal."

What does your role at St. Albert the Great bring to you or your family?

I hope that the time and effort I put in to improving the experience for all students at St. Albert has the same positive effect on my children that my parent’s efforts did on me.  That they can understand that we are building a community and that it takes everyone to make it a great community.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?

I have two from St. Albert that come to mind.

First is from the soccer field, the place I have given the most time to at St. Albert.  Two seasons ago (4th grade) we were playing a game and one of my players told me that we were playing his old school. I didn't even know that he had come from a different parish, but he seemed very excited and was playing very energetically that day.   He had not scored all season and really wanted to score against his old classmates.  Late in the game we had a comfortable lead and I noticed that several of my star players were no longer looking to score for themselves but instead were constantly passing the ball or crossing the ball to this player in an effort to get him a goal.  My coaching staff had given them no instruction to pass to him, they did it because they wanted him to score, it was amazing.

My second one was from this last year and finally getting to coach my daughter.  We entered the playoffs with only one win and not much of chance to get another one.  These girls came to the playoff game ready to have fun, not worried about what may or may not happen.   Their enthusiasm filled me with a sense that we should just have fun so we approached that game with the greatest attitude you could ever imagine for a team that hadn’t had hardly any success.  As it was, we won that match and moved on in the playoffs.  It was amazing and the girls were so overwhelmingly happy it was contagious.  I've never had more fun than that game and I think I will be hard pressed to top it.



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