January 2nd, 2014

Hyland's Heroes: Holly Koval

Staff Report

Hyland's Heroes: Holly Koval
The Koval family / photo submitted by Holly Koval

The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland. "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.

Holly Koval has lived in Louisville, Ky. her entire life and is a product of Waggener High School.

It wasn’t until high school that Koval found her love for sports when her best friend Karen (Miles) Cawthon talked her into trying out for volleyball. She made the JV team and fell in love with the sports thanks to her coach Mary Grace Feltham, and continues to play today.

Koval married her husband Joe in 1994 and have 3 children. They both attended the University of Louisville; Koval earned her RN BSN and Joe a DMD. 

The Koval family attended the Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville and then switched to St Patrick in 2001. Nikki, 16, is a junior at Mercy and plays on the varsity volleyball team and plays club volleyball for MAVA. 

Haley, 13, is a seventh grader at St Patrick and plays volleyball for her school and plays club for MAVA.

Ryan, 10, is a fourth grader at St Patrick and plays football and boys volleyball for St. Patrick and is also involved in lacrosse and baseball.

In addition to coaching volleyball at St Patrick I am in my seventh year of coaching at MAVA. Joe and I spend most of our time running the kids to their activities but when we do get a little down time, which is usually in the summer, we take the kids to the lake and spend a few days boating and swimming. 

1) When and how did you get your start with the CSAA? Why so?

I started coaching at St Patrick nine years ago when our oldest daughter Nikki played third/fourth grade volleyball. I coached her all the way through her eighth grade year. I started coaching our other daughter Haley when she was in 1st grade and will continue with her through 8th grade.

2) Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

I got involved in coaching because I love volleyball and wanted to be a part of my girls learning the game.  St. Patrick needed some volunteer coaches so I decided to give it a shot and have loved every minute of it.

3) What sports did you coach (do you coach) and how long have you coached there?

I've coached volleyball at St Patrick for nine years and coached Nikki in basketball when she was in third and fourth grade.

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

Coaching is more than X's and O's, it also involves teaching values that our children can use both on and off the court. Whether I'm coaching a first grade team or a seventh/eighth grade team, we teach the importance of sportsmanship, working hard, being positive, and believing in yourself and others. I want the girls that I coach to know that I am proud of them and they'll always have my love and support.

5) Who was the most influential person on your coaching career? Why?

I have so many people that have had an impact on how I coach, including my husband and children. Having the support of my family and friends make so many things possible in life, and I wouldn't be where I am without them. Every year I have coached I have had great assistants; I couldn't do my job without them. For everyone out there that has taken a moment of their time to talk, share their knowledge, and offer their support, I thank you!

6) What are your major themes/principals as a coach?

I always adjust how I coach based on the age I am working with. How I coach a group of third/fourth graders will be different from a group of seventh/eighth graders but the overall goals are the same. I want them to learn, work hard, be a great teammate, respect the game, their opponent, and have fun.  In addition to coaching the kids I always give my parents a few rules to follow: respect the game and our opponent, and most of all be your daughter's No. 1 fan. When they walk off the court always remind them that you love them and are proud of them.

7) What does coaching bring to you, your family?

Coaching can be both rewarding and a challenge for a family. The challenging part is when we're all playing at the same time, I feel like we're missing out. The rewarding part is when the schedule works out and the entire family is able to be there and show their support. It always makes for interesting conversation at the dinner table.

8) What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of coaching?

I have so many wonderful memories of all the teams that I have coached over the years.  I will say that the two years I coached both Haley's third/fourth and Nikki's seventh/eighth grade teams at the same time were two of the most hectic and fun seasons I have had. As exhausted as I was by the end of each season, I knew it was worth every minute and would do it again in a heartbeat.


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