The ‘Excellence and Virtue’ signs around Belmont Abbey’s campus are not just for decoration, they embody the characteristics and mindset that all Abbey students and faculty possess. These essential qualities are not only found in classrooms and offices, but on athletic fields too. Coach John Keating, Head Coach of the Men’s Soccer Team, continually aims to better his team physically, spiritually, academically, and mentally. When asked about his involvement with the team attaining virtue, Coach Keating noted that by “Investing time in them as individuals, [as] men, I expose them to the challenges of the day and try to form Catholic-centric thought around those issues,” therefore they grow to be better people.      

As the head coach, Coach Keating also practices excellence and virtue in his everyday life. As a collegiate athlete himself at West Virginia University, Coach Keating strove for excellence, and is still ranked as the fifth highest goal scorer in the college’s history. After graduating, Coach Keating took on several coaching positions before landing at the Abbey, where he has paved a virtuous path for eight seasons. 

This year the Men’s Soccer Team has a conference record of 5-1-3. However, Coach Keating emphasized that victories do not equal excellence and virtue. Coach Keating added to this by saying “Where we have seen growth and maturity is in off-the-field conduct and way of life, from some of the players who ‘saw the light’ and recognized that virtue and excellence are higher callings than merely winning a sporting contest.”    

An important part of Belmont Abbey’s Vision Statement is, “by excellence and virtue, we mean the skills, attitudes and stable dispositions of character that make possible the consistent practice of the good throughout the full range of human pursuits (scholarly, professional, community, personal). Recognizing that each field has its own standards of excellence, we strive to achieve them, led by St. Benedict’s desire ‘that in all things God may be glorified.’” Through this, Coach Keating’s character is epitomized, as he does not only live his own life in this accordance, but he is also an advocate for his team by mentoring them to acquire excellence and virtue in their own lives.