September 4th, 2015

Hyland's Heroes: Kyle Thomas

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Kyle Thomas
Kyle is on the right / photo provided by the Thomas 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.

Kyle Thomas was born and raised in the Highlands. Thomas attended St. Stephen Martyr in grade school and then moved onto St. Xavier High. After graduating from St. X, he attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a double major in marketing and management and minored in communications. Thomas then got an MBA from Bellarmine University.

Thomas spent the majority of his summers at Lakeside Swim Club and grew up playing baseball and basketball.

Now, Thomas is an official at the CSAA, high school, and college ranks. He volunteers every at an officials clinic that helps train CSAA referees.

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

I started officiating basketball while at UK to earn money to pay rent and go out on the weekends. Upon graduation, I wanted to continue officiating as I truly enjoy being on the court and it is a great source of extra income. This is when I decided to get involved in the CSAA in which I have just completed my sixth season.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

After my first season of basketball officiating, my assignor, Jim Gutterman, saw the potential that I had and the influence that I had on younger officials. Since I was still young at the time and had a great sense of the game, he asked me to help during officials’ clinics. The new assignor, Kevin O’Bryan, and I work together on the high school level. He and I talked about his new assignment within the CSAA and asked me to help him run his new officials’ clinic.

What sports did or do you volunteer to help and for how long?

The only sport that I help out with is basketball and I have been doing that for five years. I don’t do any of the outside sports because I like to control my elements; there are no rain outs in a gym.

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

First of all, without God, we cannot do or achieve anything so I must give my praises there first. The CSAA allowed me the opportunity to play every sport that I wanted growing up. It provided me dedication, hard-work, never to give up, and friendship amongst it all. I look at the kids on the court and occasionally there is a bad apple. I try to approach that kid as almost a mentor. Most kids look up to officials as we are in an authoritative kind of role. If that kid is acting out I try to have a private talk, even if on the court.

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

The most influential people on my volunteer career would have to be my parents. They instilled hard work, dedication, and that act of giving back within me. They made a lot of sacrifices for me over the years. Since I do not have my own family to make sacrifices for, I feel that I have the time to sacrifice to help out in many volunteer opportunities when available.

What are your major themes/principles as a volunteer?

My number one theme/principle would have to be, treat others as you would want to be treated. I try to show compassion and understanding for people who are just starting out. If you have never done it, you aren’t going to be good at first. It takes a lot of work to get good. I try to think back to the first time I was officiating; I did not even know how to blow a whistle properly. I now see people in the same shoes I was in many moons ago. So, I try to have patience and understanding with them that I too was in their position when I started out. Often times, the new official gets worked up over missing a call. I tell them, that is in the past now, but the good thing is that they know what they are looking for. The next step is for them to recognize it the next time the infraction occurs and to blow the whistle.

What does your role as you train officials bring to you or your family?

I find the experience to be humbling. It is difficult to see sometimes how far I have come and continue to grow into my officiating career. It is really neat to see the brand new officials and for me to reminisce that I was once just like them. Look at me now, I am in D2, D3, NAIA, and High School and I am continuing to grow.

It is also rewarding to give back to the community, in which I love, that has given me some much time.

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

The fondest memories are helping brand new officials on their first day blow the whistle properly and then watching them officiate a CSAA championship or watching them officiate their first high school varsity game. I feel like a proud papa bear.

 

 

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