August 20th, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: Kyle Yochum

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Kyle Yochum
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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.

Kyle Yochum is the CSAA track and field coordinator and teaches English at St. Xavier. He’s a Bellarmine alum and he and his wife have four kids.

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

My first work with CSAA came around 2004.  Chuck Medley and Rob Young have coached at St. X since the mid-90's and they worked the CSAA track meet at St. Pius every year.  It sounded like fun, so I went along with them one night. It was a community effort then as now – coaches were collared as they walked through the gates and assigned some task to help run the meet. Someone handed me a rake and a clipboard and I spent about four hours measuring the long jump.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?  See above?

I also coached track at St. X for 8 years, so it was fun to go watch smaller kids doing the same things that our athletes were doing.

What sports are you involved in and for how long?

I have worked with CSAA Track and Field ever since 2004 when George Thompson wanted to step down from the Track and Field Coordinator's position about five years ago, I felt like I knew the system well enough to take over for him.

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

Track and Field, like all sports, requires a lot of its volunteer coaches.  The coaches put a tremendous
amount of time in with their teams, guiding each athlete through a long season of training and races. That always entails disappointment and frustration for the kids, but the coaches that come to our
championship, the ones I've met through the years, are great about caring for their kids, comforting them, encouraging them to improve. The kids are treated like athletes and teammates in a Catholic,
positive setting.

My role is merely to facilitate those coaches and give them a place to compete in a big setting.  It encourages me that my time is well spent when the coaches can just bring their kids to the meet and model the enthusiasm, effort, and humility that make Catholic communities so vibrant.

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

Aside from the great coaches I've worked with over the years, the most consistent influence for me in the CSAA is Julie Saettel. She coordinates the track meets behind the scenes preparation and helps
troubleshoot during the meet.  She is unflappable and bubbly at all times - the first few major glitches I met as director sent me scrambling to Julie, and she showed me how to resolve the problems
that arise in such a big event without losing my cool.

What are your major themes/principles as a volunteer?

My main interest is in helping everyone remember that the effort is more important than the result.  Coaching and teaching at St. X, I try to help the kids remember that there is no real finish line – whether it's a 50 yard dash or a 5K race, you're going to go on to more important things in your life. Commitment to a sport, to a program of training, and to a team requires some very adult decisions from these kids and as coaches / coordinators, we give these kids a positive place to work hard and have fun at the same time. It's amazing to watch that happen.

What does your athletic role at the school bring to you, your family? 

I hope the excitement of being behind the scenes and watching some great races and athletes over the years compensates for the requisite absentee parenting.  My wife and I met on Bellarmine's cross country team in the 90's, and running has brought us into such great communities, opportunities for service, and fitness that we hope inform the decisions our four kids make through their lives.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have as a volunteer?

Aside from the general enjoyment of working with the coaches - even resolving conflicts as the coaches had to learn to trust me - I'd definitely point to the track meet we put on each year. Seeing kids who can run mile times that imply a bright future when they're only 12 or 13 years old, that's always fun.  Watching those last kids come around for their fourth lap and get a big cheer from the crowd - even the most tired athletes in that scenario tend to smile and speed up and feel good about themselves.  The kids finish their races and get a ribbon - the youngest set are so proud, and the maturing pre-teens kind of ironically celebrate fifth place, but the whole atmosphere from where I'm sitting is a bunch of kids working and having fun at the same time, surrounded and supported by the adults - parents and coaches - who are making it possible for them. It's really great to be a part of that.

 

 

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