June 1, 2018

Volunteer focuses on faith, relationships

By John Shaughnessy

Dan BauerWhen Dan Bauer saw how the boy was being treated by his coach, he knew he had to do something.

“I was officiating football games, and there were a couple of games where I noticed the coaching on the sidelines,” says Bauer, a former football star at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis and at Indiana University. “There was one incident where a coach called a kid by his number—didn’t even know his name—and told him to get in for another player.

“I thought if that’s the type of coaches who are out there, I need to be a coach more than an official. I went to St. Barnabas and talked to the football coordinator and asked if he had any openings for a coach. He put me to work right away.”

That’s how Bauer began coaching for 23 years at St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis—all the time working to make an impact on the lives of the football, basketball and volleyball players he coached.

“My goal was always to develop relationships,” says Bauer, a 2018 recipient of the St. John Bosco Award, the highest honor from the archdiocese’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). “When you get older, you don’t remember the wins and losses. You do remember how you were treated—and the lessons about sportsmanship and teamwork.

“I believe if you give passion to something and work hard, you may not get the win, but you will get growth. You’ll be a better person in the long run that will make you a better Christian.”

One of Bauer’s favorite teams lost all of its eight games as seventh graders.

“They came back as eighth graders and won six and lost three. They understood if we kept at this, we’ll get better. That’s what made coaching fun.”

As athletic director at St. Barnabas for the past three years, Bauer has established a focus that proclaims, “We’re going to pray, we’re going to pick the other team up, and we’re going to make faith the center point of all we are. They’ll know we are Christians and Catholics first.”

Bauer strives to live that focus.

He’s been an usher at Mass for nearly 20 years. And he and his wife Pam have been confirmation sponsors. They have also participated in mission trips with their three children and other youths.

“My faith has always been the center point of my life. If you keep your faith in mind in everything you do, it takes you to a lot of good places.” †


Related story: Archbishop salutes CYO honorees for living ‘the joy of the Gospel’

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