Louisville knows him as coach. His family knows him as a devoted, doting dad. Jeff Walz shares an inside peak on balancing family, sports, and coaching life.
Watching Jeff Walz work the sideline or run a press conference is a study of excellence in performance. The University of Louisville women’s bas- ketball coach exudes passion in all he does and that passion brings admiration and adulation from his athletes as their leader and supporter. He’s emotionally involved with the game, as any great coach is, and celebrates his players regardless of the outcome. In his 12 seasons as head of the Louisville women’s program, he’s amassed a sparkling 332-99 record and has led the team to three final four appearances in 2009, 2013 and 2018.
They have 15 big sisters that they can look up to. Our kids are accepted with open arms from my team and staff. They enjoy spending time watching athletes play basketball, traveling to road games, and being a part of our extended Walz Family.
The success he brings to the team, its players and fans is undeniable and palpable.
One of his stand-out qualities is his accessibility to all: his players, the fan base, the media. It’s a singular trait with him as he consistently looks for opportunities to raise the profile of his student-athletes and their outstanding accomplishments in the classroom and on the court.
But Jeff has fostered the same mentality off of the court that he lives in his real life with his wife Lauren and their four children. If you recall the first Louisville Live basketball preview event, you may have noticed two future Cardinals in the crowd with his wife, his youngest children; 5-year-old Lola, and 3-year-old Lucy.
As Jeff told TOPS, “It’s important to try and evaluate where I am putting my priorities daily. I understand that I have an important job in athletics that has many demands. I also understand that being a husband and father is my most important job. I have to check myself at times; it is easy to get entrenched in my work and lose focus on what is happening at home.”
Family leads his life. His favorite people to spend his time with is his wife and rock, Lau- ren, and four children: Kaeley who is 13; Jacob, who is 12 along with 5-year-old Lola, and 3-year-old Lucy.
“They give me energy and keep me going in a profession that can sometimes be draining. My kids are all very different in their ways, but I love spending time together with them. My older kids are the best playmates and role models for the little ones; it’s neat to see their relationships. The kids love staying active with their sports and activities. Kaeley plays volleyball and tennis; Jacob is skilled and passionate about basketball; Lola loves to attend her gymnastic classes and tennis lessons; and Lucy, she is becoming a great swimmer!”
With so much movement in his life, you may wonder how he does it all. As superb as his Superman qualities, Jeff said that his wife shares the same philosophy about life, family comes first, and he would not be where he is in life without her support. Which makes her as super as him by opening their home to share it with his players as they are entirely
intertwined. “They have 15 big sisters that they can look up to,” Jeff says proudly. “Our kids are accepted with open arms from my team and staff.” He also added, “They enjoy spending time watching athletes play basketball, traveling to road games, and being a part of our extended Walz Family.”
Jeff commits himself to the same efforts in his children’s lives by attending as many games, activities, and practices that his children are involved in. He wants them to know he is the dad that will always be their cheerleader and supporter, unconditionally. Regardless of his success in his career, Jeff said, “I love my job, but I don’t want it to become my life. I want to be successful, but I would rather be a better father and husband than a coach.”