September 20th, 2017

Hyland's Heroes: Jon Pilbean

Staff Report

Hyland's Heroes: Jon Pilbean
Jon Pilbean and family / photo provided by the Pilbean 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 (


Jon Pilbean is a volunteer with the St. Margaret Mary athletic program. 

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

I first started coaching when my son Jack was in first grade. I coached his flag football team. Since then I have coached tackle football, baseball and basketball. In 2013 and 2014, I was the football coordinator for our Athletic Ministry program and during the 2015-16 school year, I was the president of the board. This fall I am coaching my daughter Annie's fifth grade powder puff team.

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

My wife Kate and I look at catholic sports as an extension of our parish community. We put our catholic faith in action in every sport we coach. Praying with our teams, making sure each athlete has a contributing part of the team, and trying to be good morale examples to our teams.

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

My parents Jim and Mary Ann have both volunteered for many organizations and churches over the years and demonstrated to my sisters, brother, and I what it meant to give back selflessly.

What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?

That my players are a better team at the end of the season than they were at the first practice both athletically and spiritually.

What does your role bring your family?

I have been able to spend valuable time with each of my kids while coaching their teams. Sometimes I have probably been tougher on them than their teammates but to be able to be there with them and their friends as they grow both individually and as a team throughout each season is incredibly rewarding. I'm forever grateful to be a part of teaching and then watching them learn to be both a gracious winner as well as how to lose with grace. I'm proud to have been a part of shaping them into athletes with great sportsmanship, humility, and compassion. And to be able to be there and celebrate their victories with them and their friends has been an incredible gift.

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

There have been many experiences that have been rewarding for me. The one that stands out the most is that during my time with the athletic board at SMM, we changed from an association to a ministry, setting a tone for the program that athletics is part of our overall church mission.


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