July 1, 2022

‘There is no greater advocate for our children, nor better role model’

By John Shaughnessy

Keith MinchIn his 24 years as a police officer in Indianapolis, Keith Minch has seen enough heartbreak and tragedy to know that lives can be changed for the better by the positive influence of a person who cares.

For nearly 20 years, Minch has strived to be that person as a coach in the archdiocese’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).

“A large percentage of what you come across as a police officer are children and adults who don’t have structure in their lives,” says Minch, who is also a veteran of the

U.S. Marines Corps. “There’s a lot of good you can do by being involved in the lives of kids at a young age—giving them structure and a sense of belonging. And as a coach in the CYO, you can also instill faith in them.”

A father of four, Minch has not only helped to provide that foundation for his own children, but for the numerous boys and girls he has coached in sports at St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis—football, kickball, basketball and baseball.

That dedication has led to his selection as a recipient of the 2022 St. John Bosco Award, the highest honor of the archdiocese’s CYO.

In nominating him for the award, Sarah Watson has seen the incredible difference that Minch has made.

“There is no greater advocate for our children, nor better role model as he is always making sure students are scholars first,” says Watson, a former St. Lawrence principal and current assistant superintendent of schools for the archdiocese. “On many occasions, Keith has acted as a father figure for our students who have no father at home.”

As a coach, Minch works to help his players understand that beyond their physical abilities, it’s their mental approach in sports—and in life—that will make the biggest difference.

“The biggest thing I want them to learn is to always give your best. If you’re giving me 50%, you’re probably doing that in the classroom, too. What you learn in sports you’ll carry with you the rest of your life. I try to get them to work hard, be a good teammate, be a better student, a better Catholic.”

He views his coaching—and his past 11 years as athletic director for the parish—as his ways of living his faith.

“You can teach Catholic values through coaching. It’s all about being part of your community and giving back where you can.” †

 

Related story: Archbishop salutes CYO volunteers ‘for giving of themselves’

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