April 14th, 2016

Hyland's Heroes: Marcela Newman

Samantha Stallings

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Marcela Newman
From left : Jason, Koen, Marcela, and Catalina / photo provided by the Newman 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.

Marcela Newman was born in Louisville, Ky.  Her family was always a big tennis family and Marcela started playing tennis at the age of 8. She attended Ascension and then played for Assumption High School. After graduation from Assumption she played for Bellarmine for a few years and then began teaching. She graduated from the University of Louisville in 2004. Marcela met her husband Jason at Plainview tennis when they were 15 years old. Jason ended up working there and later we ran the tennis facility for a few years. They got married in 2006 after dating for 10 years and now have two children: Catalina who is 21 months and Koen is 6 years old and is a first grader at St. Margaret Mary.

When and how did you get your start with St. Margaret Mary?

When my husband and I moved back to Louisville in 2010 we began looking for a parish and school community to raise children in.  We started attending mass and eventually became parishioners. Last year when my son started kindergarten, SMM had in the newsletter that they were looking for a tennis coach. I had just had a baby and my son wasn’t eligible to play so I was a little hesitant at first but I hadn’t really quite found something I really loved to volunteer for within SMM, so I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad I did. 

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

My husband knew how much I loved to coach when I was younger so he encouraged me to coach and told me he would help if I needed. I spoke with Chris Legre, on the athletic board and he was great helping me get everything together to coach the team as well as the previous teammates parents. They had told me they had a small team of maybe 10 kids. The year I took over we ended up with 21 kids and have grown the team to 42 kids this year.

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

This is my second year coaching tennis at SMM. I started out coaching 3rd to 8th graders.  After seeing so many of the younger siblings at practice I decided to expanded it to 1st through 8th grade.  I also coached Manual back in 2003.   

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

Tennis is an individual sport so I think the hardest part is to teach them we are still a team. I try to do many team activities as well as having the older kids on my team mentor their younger teammates. I love to see these kids grow up and learn why sportsmanship is very important and can play a big part of their life. I also have a big rule on my team that they can never use the word “can’t”.  I tell them that they can do whatever they wish if they just make up their mind and do it.  Seeing the smiles on their faces and improvement over the year is what makes coaching worth my time. 

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

I think the biggest person would be Melissa Steineker she is my neighbor and watches my daughter. She is involved in so many things in her church as well as our community. I amazed with even with what God has put in front of her how she has the time and gives back to the community. She always has a smile while doing it and truly is always thinking about others.  She makes me want to be a better person, mother and wife. 

What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?

Never use the word “I CAN’T.” I want every child to go out play their hardest and most importantly have fun while doing it. 

What does your role at St. Margaret Mary bring your family?

Last year since my son couldn’t play so I told him he could be my assistant coach and help me at the matches.  I was so proud when I saw how he would talk about how I coached the tennis team to his friends and how he seemed so proud which made me happy.  With the team growing throughout the years, my husband has started helping me coach and my son is playing.  Now the tennis team is also family time we get to spend together and my son is always telling me the tennis drills the kids enjoy the most.   

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

My fondest memory is when I see these kids get rated at the beginning of the season and to see how much they have improved. Some of the kids were so excited when they saw they were rated higher. It's so great when the kids are improving and those that couldn’t play matches last year come back with the improved skills to get in the matches this year. I love seeing kids achieve their goals. And those special times after weeks when we they have lost, to see them come out the next week and try harder and win. The smiles they have on their face is the most rewarding part. 


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