Mar 2, 2013 / 01:04 pm
Chris Catanach has been the head volleyball coach at the University of Tampa for 29 seasons now. And he’s okay with the fact that you probably don’t know of him.
Working at the same school that he graduated from, he is an example of the type of humility that Christians are called to, in exemplifying that it’s not about us, it’s about God.
Consider his response when asked about college coaches in sports like football and basketball being household names in a lot of cities and in the world of ESPN and social media, but volleyball coaches getting nowhere near that recognition level.
“From my standpoint I’m totally okay with that. I wouldn’t trade my life to be a superstar. If you look at what’s happening with (South African runner) Oscar Pistorius, if he was Joe Schmo his life wouldn’t be in the papers. I get to live under the radar and do good things and do things right and not be in the newspaper. Those other (basketball and football coaches) are getting paid millions but have the scrutiny that comes with it.”
Ironically, despite being among the winningest active NCAA Division II coaches, and even though he’d “played volleyball extensively in high school,” Catanach never really planned to have a long career as the university’s top man in volleyball.
“I got my undergrad in Phys. Ed. and really wanted to be a teacher,” he explains, “but when I graduated I applied for a P.E. job at St. Paul’s School in Clearwater and an admissions job with UT. So I took the UT job and (after having volunteered when he first got there) continued to work with the volleyball team. Midway through that first year the coach resigned, so I came back and convinced them to give me a shot, which was rare because I wasn’t qualified. At first I thought I’d only do this for a few years and thought I’d go do something else. But around the four-year mark I thought I’d keep going for maybe four more. I’ll probably put in 40 years before I can think of finally retiring.
“The first ten years I just said I worked at UT because I was a little embarrassed (about saying he was the volleyball coach), but the last 19 years I’ve been really proud and work with tremendous players and the university is a great place to work. You can’t walk away from a job like that.”
Certainly the Lord called this devout Catholic to the job because it has enabled him to help shape student-athletes into young women, not just to coach volleyball players. …
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