kim lutz guffey

I so looked up to Bill. When I was 14, I was the referee of his daughters’ game. It was a tournament and they were in overtime. I will never forget this game….
With a few moments left in OT and no score, I called a foul which occurred in his goalie box. The other team scored on the penalty kick. The game was over 30 seconds later and they lost. Bill and the parents were furious with me for the call.
Everyone was screamimg at me and Mr. Westerman walked onto the field and gave me an earful. No way was I going to card him. So I ran off and cried by a pond.
Did I also mention that I was the basketball manager at Notre Dame? Yep, Mr. Westerman was the coach. I remember trying to avoid him like the plague!
At the winter sports banquet, Coach Westerman was finishing up his team awards. The gym was packed. He was talking about some dedicated player going above the call of duty and singing her praises. Imagine my utter shock when I realized he was talking about me, his lowly team manager who didn’t make the team. He then told the story of THE GAME from his daughters’ soccer tourney. He went on and publically apologized for hollaring at me. In that moment, I felt redeemed, humbled, respected and honored. Never in a million years did I think he liked me still after THE GAME. 30 years later, I still think about that night.
He was passionate about everything he did. Up until that night, I wondered if I made the right call and worried. But in one moment, it didn’t matter. He was important in the world of youth sports in NKY, but what made him even bigger was that he wasn’t afraid to admit he went overboard. Most of the people in attendance had no idea what had transpired on the soccer field. He could have just as easily talked to me in private. But he didn’t. I will always remember that night til the day I meet him again! What a lesson. He taught not only me, but everyone in the gymnasium. We are human, we make mistakes and it’s okay. Maybe I made the wrong call and maybe he went a lil crazy after… It’s okay! We make mistakes and we get better. We don’t quit. We give our best effort and learn from our mistakes. We love eachother. That apology was the most loving thing anyone outside of family had ever done for me at 14.
Today, at 43, I am still making mistakes and sometimes have issues w/people. I do not sever the relationships that are sometimes difficult. I know how to say “I am sorry and I was wrong in how I handled the situation, but you are more important to me than being angry.”
Bill impacted so many of us, even my children, in his work at St. Pat’s. He set a wonderful example to us all. When his illness made him suffer, he was still faithful and lived with purpose. His lived his faith. He may not be physically present but I promise you that the lessons he taught will live on in all the young people he had mentored and loved. He is free from a body that could no longer support him. I bet he is playing a pick up game of hoops with Jesus and making music w/the angels.
Thanks Coach!