August 10th, 2017

Hyland's Heroes: John Eichberger Jr.

Staff Report


Hyland's Heroes: John Eichberger Jr.
The Eichberger 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. If you have a suggestion for Hyland’s Heroes, feel free to email Conor Revell (crevell@catholicsportsnet.com).

I graduated from Trinity and Bellarmine University and played baseball for both schools.

My wife Jennifer graduated from Assumption High School where she played basketball and softball.  We started dating in high school and got married after we both graduated from college in 1999.  We have three girls, Jill, Janie and Josie who all attend Saint Bernard.

When and how did you get your start with the athletic program?

I started coaching soccer and basketball in 2010 when my oldest daughter was in kindergarten as a way to get involved with the school and to meet new families at Saint Bernard. This led to other opportunities to get involved at Saint Bernard through the Booster Club and eventually led to me becoming the Athletic Director. 

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

It starts with the basic “Time, Talent, Treasure” principle, but really goes beyond that. I started out coaching, which I love, moving on to helping in other areas and then to where I am now with the Booster Club. Sports have always been a big part of my life, and they teach life lessons.  Being able to volunteer at Saint Bernard has provided me an avenue to give back to the parish and community.  I like to think that I am leading by example and teaching basic Christian principles while coaching or volunteering.

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

I would say that my parents, especially my dad, have played a very influential role in my volunteer career.  During grade school at Saint Margaret Mary, both of my parents were involved in clubs and groups at the school and in the parish.  My father coached football and basketball for many years at Saint Margaret Mary and continued to coach after I graduated and attended Trinity High School.  My dad then volunteered his time at Trinity High School and Bellarmine while I attend those schools.  He also taught me that having the same approach to everyone will not work, in coaching and in life.  He told me there are always different ways to look at a situation and find the best way to get the most and best out of everyone in that situation.  I also had some really great coaches during grade school – Rich Baldwin, Bill Ralston, my dad – that made sports fun and taught more than just the game.

What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?

Have fun, be fair and treat everyone with respect.  I want our student-athletes to learn to become good teammates and better people.  We like our volunteers to put the kids first and ensure that they have a fun and enjoyable experience during their sport season.  For some of our kids, it may be their first experience with a team or that sport, and we want it to be a great experience so that moving forward they will want to come back year over year.  I am fortunate to have a great group of coaches and volunteers at Saint Bernard that contribute in all areas and provide a positive example in the parish.

What does your role bring your family?

My wife coaches different sports at Saint Bernard as well and having three daughters at the school, we spend a lot of time there as a family.  I believe that children live what they see, and I know that my daughters see what all of our volunteers contribute around the parish.  As they’ve gotten older, they are more than eager to help me and others during events, especially on Fish Fry nights.  Ultimately, we would love to teach our kids the importance of giving back.

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

My fondest memories so far are the relationships that I have made over the last eight years.  It also is a great joy when one of the kids that you are coaching scores their first goal or gets a hit for the first time and the excitement and joy on their face.  I love seeing new people to the school/parish volunteer and see how excited they get when they finally get involved with the programs.

 

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