Our youngest daughter, Alicia, 15, is a passionate Bucks fan. For several years, we’d attend Bucks games and she would keep a scoring booklet, diligently tallying all the game stats. Up until recently, if you asked her what she’d like to do when she’s older, she’d tell you she would like to be a general manager of an NBA team.
While that idea has fallen away somewhat, her dream job would be something to do with the NBA and particularly, the Milwaukee Bucks.
After meeting the Gillespie family, I realize that dreams like that don’t have to be pie-in-the-sky thoughts. It is possible to attain lofty goals like working for the NBA.
Just ask Judie Gillespie, a mom of four sons, the oldest of whom has been an NBA coach for 13 years.
Judie is also a theology teacher at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School. A few years ago, one of Judie’s students asked her about her children. She told the student that her oldest son is a coach in the NBA – at that time for the Phoenix Suns.
The student didn’t believe her – maybe because Judie’s classroom was not plastered in Suns colors and banners and, like her son, the coach, Judie is not the type to brag about his accomplishments.
Yet, sure enough, Noel Gillespie, a graduate of St. Catherine Elementary School, Milwaukee, and Dominican High School, Whitefish Bay, has had a meteoric rise through the coaching ranks, interning with an NBA team right after his college graduation. From there, he spent a year in graduate school at Florida State, and then right back into the NBA with the Suns and now the Nuggets.
Pretty impressive, but what’s more impressive is the faith-filled family man this young coach is.
Role models in professional sports are hard to come by and, oftentimes, it seems our role models let us down. Noel Gillespie, however, seems like the real deal – someone who has achieved a certain celebrity status without letting it change his core values.
According to his wife, Sherry, one of the things in which he takes the most pride is his Catholic faith – and it was actually his example of faith that drew Sherry to Catholicism as well.
Faith is a focal part of their family’s life and it’s something they lean on through the transient life of an NBA coach. Meet this inspiring coach and his family on Pages 8 and 9.
Also this issue, don’t miss Michele Campbell’s column on Page 10. A teacher at Waukesha Catholic and mom of three older children, Michele’s column, “Thinking out Loud,” will be a regular feature of our Family section. This month, she shares a story about a touching moment she experienced when she realized that God was sending her a message through her surroundings. Those “God moments” come in all shapes and sizes, she says, reminding readers to be open to them.
The end of the school year is near and columnist Henry Reyes reminds us it’s a good time to reflect on the cycles in our lives – the endings and the beginnings. Read his thoughts on Page 13.
As the school year draws to a close, Catholic Herald Family will also take its summer hiatus. But we’ll return with the October issue at the end of September with our family oriented stories and columns. Have a safe, wonderful summer and create many family memories! Don’t forget to capture those family moments and share them with us through the Catholic Herald Family photo contest. See details on Page 12.
Until the fall …