September 4th, 2014

Hyland's Heroes: Amy Eisenback

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Amy Eisenback
The Eisenback family / photo provided by the Eisenback 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.

Volleyball season has started and for the youngest students’ eligible for competition with the CSAA, the learning process has begun as well. Amy Eisenback is working with one of the six fourth grade teams at St. Michael.

As a youngster, Amy played multiple sports at her grade school, St. Helen, and from there she proceeded to Holy Cross where she participated in volleyball, cross country, basketball and tennis.

Multi-sport, multi season: Amy stayed active and busy. She continued to play basketball in college when she attended Bellarmine. This ultimately led her to an early teaching and coaching career.

Amy and her husband, Casey, are parents to two daughters, Emma and Claire, who are now embarking on their own athletic path. Though the girls are still young they are similar to their mom as they have begun to discover their own personal “likes” from many different activities.

From karate to tennis, to volleyball and basketball, St. Michael’s School and the Eisenback girls are getting off to a great start with a knowledgeable coach and a true believer in the gifts to be gained from athletics.

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

When I graduated from college, while attending graduate school, I coached my cousins’ fifth/sixth grade basketball team at St. Helen (they didn’t have a coach).

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?   

St. Helen was my grade school parish, even though I had moved to a different parish in college, I knew the athletic director at the time so he allowed me to come back and coach the girls.
What sports did you coach and for how long?

I only coached there for one season, then I completed my Masters’ degree and got a teaching and coaching position at the high school level… I have coached girls and boys high school basketball here in Louisville.

What's the connection with your faith & giving your time to young student athletes?  

We all have gifts to give, I just happen to have a passion for sports and what they can do for young people. Teaching and coaching have always been a calling for me. Even though I don’t work in a classroom or a gym full-time right now, I love giving to the kids in my church community and helping them have a positive sports experience.

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

There are a lot of people I could list here. My parents spent countless hours working with me in our backyard, driving me to practices and games, and just supporting whatever I wanted to do. Jim Cowgill was my 7/8th grade basketball coach at St. Helen, and his knowledge and passion for the game were contagious. 

In high school, it was Marty Donlon who had helped coach me in basketball at Holy Cross, plus his faith and diligence in how he cared for his players that inspired me to want to pursue that same career path.  And finally, Joe Bergamini at St. X, he gave me the chance to be a female coach in a predominantly male world. His philosophy of being a coach to the whole person and putting faith, family, and academics in front of athletics is something I try to pass on to the players I coach now.

What are your major themes/principles as a coach?  

I am a big advocate of coaching players to be their own personal best on and off the court. In a society that only places value on an athlete’s on-court/ field performance, I think it’s so important that we encourage young people to build a strong character as well. Through sports, kids can learn so much about humility, discipline, attitude, perseverance, the list goes on. And I also think it’s so important that all kids get a chance to try out and play as many different sports as they can for as long as they can… I am a huge supporter of the multi-sport athlete being the superior, all-around athlete. This also gives them the skills to be lifelong participants in sports, keeping them happier and healthier for the rest of their lives.

What does coaching bring to you, your family?  

My husband and I have loved our experiences playing sports throughout our lives.  We are very competitive, but I think we also know how to put that competitive spirit into perspective.  As our girls are growing older and becoming participants, it’s fun to play outside together, to watch games, and to just be their biggest fans. Kids need that so much. They don’t need parents who push and coach constantly at home… it should be a fun way to bond and let your kid know what an awesome person he/she is (regardless of the score).

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

I loved that first CSAA team I had… they hadn’t won a game in 2 years, and together we made it to the semi-finals of the City Tournament. It was also an amazing privilege to coach the freshman during the St. X/ Trinity games at Freedom Hall - lots of great memories there. Amidst all this though, I have to say being able to watch my own daughter and her friends experience the camaraderie of team sports and watching them grow as people and players is the most rewarding part of it all.

 

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