March 3rd, 2017
Hyland's Heroes: Andy Kiehl
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.
When and how did you get your start with Holy Trinity?
In 1990, as a young married couple, before the kids came along, we bought a house on Leland Rd, right across the street from Holy Trinity. Our kids were born in 1992, 1994 and 1998, and all three walked right across the street to school. I started volunteering as soon as our oldest got into kindergarten in 1997. Living across the street gave me the chance to participate in a ton of activities.
Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?
I saw being involved in sports and school as a great way to spend quality time with my own kids and all of their friends. As we all know, in grade school sports, you don’t have to beg to help…if you are willing; they will find something for you to do! Over the last twenty years, I have had a chance to coach, coordinate and organize almost every sport and activity, but it was about a dozen years ago that some of the boosters asked me to get more involved with the basketball program and that has been my focus ever since.
What’s the connection with your faith and giving your time to student athletes?
The simple answer is that it is my contribution of “time, talent and treasure,” but it goes well beyond that. Working with so many kids and parents over the years, as a coach, coordinator and volunteer, I have had the great opportunity to live out so many important aspects of life in the context of sport…character, charity, teamwork, respect, effort, fairness, etc. It can all be connected to the Catholic teachings we have heard in church for years. I believe that even just the act of volunteering to help was leading by example and showing the importance of being willing to get involved.
Who was the most influential person on your volunteer career? Why?
It would be impossible to name just one…organizing, coordinating and running sports in a Catholic School is a true “team effort.” We are really lucky at Holy Trinity to have such a great group of people willing to do whatever it takes and the support of our pastors over the years has been tremendous. That said, I have to thank two really great guys and longtime friends – Jay Flaherty and Dan Kannapel – who asked me to get involved with HT basketball years ago, they have no idea what an awesome gift they were giving me.
What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?
Our philosophy is “put others first” and that every decision, every policy and every process should focus on the best interest of the kids. We have worked very hard to build a culture in which the kids come first and we strive to make sure that every kid who participates in sports is treated fairly, has a great experience, and wants to participate again next season. Yes, like everyone else, we like to win, but we will never do it to satisfy parents at the expense of the rules or favoring one kid over another. We have been blessed with a group of volunteers that share the same philosophy.
What does your role at Holy Trinity bring your family?
People laugh when I say it, but my volunteering at Holy Trinity is one of the most selfish things I do because I think I get so much more out of it than I give. While it sounds like opening the gym on Saturday morning or running tryouts at night, or passing out uniforms, or working in the concession stand are “have to’s”, I view it as some of the greatest privileges of my life. When my kids were younger, they were with me all the time at the gym and as a coach, I got to spend extra time with them, and know all their friends. As high schoolers, they would come back to work at HT doing clock/book for games, working in the concession stand, reffing a scrimmage, etc. And as a St. X student, our youngest son was even an assistant coach for a fifth/sixth grade team for three seasons. Stacey and I have gotten to know kids and families that we might not have ever met if it weren’t for my involvement in Holy Trinity sports.
What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?
First has to be all the time at HT with my own kids and their friends…I am sure that if not for my volunteer responsibilities at HT, I would never have had the quality time I got to spend with my own family. Also, all the great people I’ve met, walking into almost any gym in the city and seeing someone that I know because of my involvement at HT is really special. Finally, something we started at Holy Trinity years ago, the pre-game prayer…regardless of the kids, schools, parents, competition, etc…seeing refs, coaches and kids come together in the middle of the floor and pray before a game reminds me of what’s most important about what we do.