Trinity adds new formation component in athletics

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

For the first time since 1992, Trinity High School has revised its mission statement.

The new statement says:

“Trinity is a Catholic, college-preparatory high school, forming men of faith and men of character.”

The revised mission statement also comes with a new initiative aimed at enhancing the latter portion of the statement — forming men of faith and men of character — according to a news release from the school.

Steven Tompkins, who previously coached Trinity’s baseball team for 12 years, will oversee the new leadership initiative for all Trinity athletic teams.

The program will focus on the faith and character development of student-athletes, Rob Saxton, Trinity’s athletic director, said in an interview at the school last week.

The new initiative is based on a three-prong approach, Saxton said.

The first is “visible and intentional team behaviors,” the athletic director said. Student-athletes will be given several handouts
including “The Role of Student-Athlete,” “The Sportsmanship Pledge” and “The Student-Athlete Pledge.” Each team will commit to three to five noteworthy and visible behaviors, Saxton said.

For example, the basketball team may hold an opening and closing prayer in the locker room before and after every game.

Each starting player would seek out each of the opposing starting players and shake hands prior to tip off. And, anytime an opposing player goes to the floor, a Trinity player will extend a hand to help that person to their feet.

The second part of the program, Saxton said, will be “chapel and campus ministry programming.” Tompkins will coordinate with campus ministry and school chaplain, Father Dave Zettel, to schedule a series of on-campus events for each team including prayer services, monthly Masses and Fellowship of Christian Athletes devotionals.

The last portion will involve partnership with SportsLeader, a national virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches, Saxton said. A word or “virtue of the week” will be broadcast to the entire school community through Trinity TV and the school’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages, he explained.

“For example, this week the word is ‘accountability,’ ” Saxton said. “We are going to take this and share it with the entire enrollment, not just the athletes.”

As part of the SportsLeader initiative, Trinity also will host a Father/Son Jersey Night and a Letter for Mom ceremony.

Approximately 600 of the 1,300 students enrolled at Trinity participate in at least one of the school’s 20 different sports offerings, many of which have three levels of play, Saxton said.

Saxton said the leadership team at Trinity wanted this initiative to be more than simply “another” program.

“We wanted this to be intentional and to blend into the fabric of Trinity,” he said. “We already have good actions going on, but we want to put in place a more formal structure across the board for all teams,” he said.

Saxton said that Tompkins was an obvious choice for the new position because he is a man of “faith and character.”

“He goes to morning Mass almost every day. He is a very purposeful man as it relates to faith and character, both on the Trinity campus and off,” he said.
Saxton added that Tompkins has promoted this sort of formation for years as the head coach of the baseball team.

Tompkins, who is also a full-time Spanish teacher, said the new initiative is a conscious effort to get all coaches, student-athletes and teachers involved.

“Part of our faith tells us we are here to serve. This is what we are trying to implement and what we are trying to achieve. This brings an opportunity to get with coaches and teachers and bring it to the forefront every single day,” he said.

Tompkins also said he hopes students will remember these lessons of faith and character long after they leave Trinity.

“I hope this helps them stay along the straight and narrow. With today’s society and all the pressure they have on them, I hope all the young men make great choices and stay on the right path,” he said.

Tompkins, a member of St. Martha Church, is in the discernment process for the permanent diaconate program for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

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