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FAITHFUL FAN | High-quality coaches have key role with student-athletes

Catholic schools in the archdiocese have a collection of high-quality coaches, many of them spending years at their craft and instilling faith-based life lessons in their students.

For example, St. Joseph’s Academy golf coach Carol Fromuth was named the 2019-20 High School Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Missouri State High School Activities Association. The awards are the highest honors given by both organizations and recognize Fromuth’s lifelong commitment to the ideals of coaching.

Under Fromuth’s leadership, St. Joseph’s Academy has won the MSHAA girls golf championship the past five consecutive years, a state record. She has served as golf coach at St. Joseph’s Academy for the past 24 years and been a member of the school’s athletic staff since 1997.

Fromuth credited the student-athletes. “They manage to successfully balance our vigorous academic standards with a high level of athletic performance,” she said.

Also touted recently was Christian Brothers College High School soccer coach Terry Michler, who was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations’ National High School Hall of Fame July 1. Michler is the winningest high school boys soccer coach in history. He has won more than 1,000 games and nine state championships during his 49-year coaching career. Michler was selected for the honor in March of 2020, but the ceremony was delayed.

Rocky Streb, athletics director at CBC, has noticed in his nearly 40 years in education that the connection coaches such as Michler make with students evolve into lifelong relationships. “We find that we are still mentors, we still matter to those kids when they become young men and ultimately even old men. They still remember all those lessons they learned in the sport we coached them in,” he explained.

The former students hand those lessons on to their children or to other children that they coach.

Society has changed within the family unit and parenting since Streb started work in the ’80s. But a constant for many students is their reliance on their coaches for life lessons. And at schools such as CBC, prayer has a role in the sports program.

“When they (student-athletes) see somebody prioritizing prayer who they respect a great deal — their coach, who’s a father-figure many times — that really reinforces the importance of a prayer life,” Streb said.

Maureen McVey, athletics director and soccer coach at St. Joseph’s Academy, said coaches take on secondary parent roles sometimes. “I know with our coaches we serve as positive role models with these kids. We teach them, we build confidence in them and have a rapport with them.”

It’s not always about winning and losing, McVey said. It’s about developing relationship with the students through academics, athletics and our faith. They pray before games and provide life lessons. Freymuth, for example, stresses the mental aspect of the sport because it can be so stressful at times.

St. Joseph’s coaches have lengthy tenures and have established relationships with players and their families, with some of the parents having played for those coaches.

Paul Boschert, athletics director at Duchesne High School, said sometimes it takes years for coaches to realize what an impact they’ve made on students. “I’ve notice in my own life, some of the kids I’ve coached years ago are inviting me to their kids’ weddings and things,” he said.

Duchesne has several coaches who’ve coached many years and have made quite an impact. Similar to other Catholic high schools here, Duchesne’s athletic program supports students as they enrich their minds, strengthen their bodies and develop their spirituality through team prayer.

Kenny is a staff writer for the Review and a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Oakville.

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