4HisGlory: Matt Birk's Initiative for Catholic School Coaching

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Matt Birk, a former Minnesota Viking and Super Bowl Champion, introduced his new initiative for effective athletics coaching for Catholic schools in Saint Paul and Minneapolis to this year’s Teach for Christ cohort. Birk’s initiative, called 4HisGlory (4HG), has a mission to create a healthy sports culture in Catholic schools. The mission states that they “believe athletics, when done right, serve as an invaluable tool for developing well-rounded children.” Birk introduced Teach for Christ to this new program in the hopes that we could potentially partner in this endeavor. Part of our mission is to “serve as teachers and tutor, coaches and mentors,” and this partnership would provide our cooperating teachers and students with more opportunities to actively engage the coaching element of our organization's identity. One of our educators from this year’s cohort spoke about her admiration for Matt Birk’s commitment to children in Catholic schools: “I think it’s great to see someone who isn’t a teacher actively engaged in encouraging student involvement in school activities both inside and outside of the classroom.” At our meeting, Birk spoke to two of our missionaries who filled in as coaches this fall at John Paul II Catholic School in Minneapolis and St. Jerome School in Maplewood. The educators shared their personal experiences of coaching their students these past few months and got feedback from Birk on how they can encourage students to be involved in after school sports in their schools. 

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Some of our current educators do not have sports management or coaching backgrounds, but have been encouraged to promote a healthy sports culture that advocates for Christian values for students of all ages and disciplines. Birk believes that in grade school, students should be encouraged to play all sports. 4HG will equip coaches to “ensure kids have fun and get better while keeping a Christian focus. Effort and teamwork are valued above talent and results.” 4HG reinforces that the students’ families are essential to a healthy sports environment, which should be shaped by strong family ideals. A potential benefit of 4HG’s efforts is to promote affordable alternatives to expensive and time-consuming travel leagues. 4HG also plans to aid principals in the mission of cultivating excellence from their students, while increasing the visibility of Catholic schools through growing enrollment. Teach for Christ is excited to partner with 4HG as both programs grow in their initiatives and sponsorships in the upcoming school year.

Matt Birk was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft, and later played for the Baltimore Ravens. He attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, excelling in football, basketball, and track & field, then graduated from Harvard University in 1998 with a degree in economics.He played college football at Harvard and is a two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowl selection, and a Super Bowl champion. For more information on 4HG, visit: https://www.4hg.co/

Theresa Krueger