Catholic bookended the 2012-13 school year with state titles, winning the first championship contested in golf, then closing out with the year's last state competition, baseball, a title the Irish won for the first time after advancing to states eight of the past 12 years.
"It's always good to get the year off on the right track,'' said Gillispie. "That one's special because I do it.''
The Irish have dominated several sports in recent years, capturing their eighth straight state championship in boys tennis, sixth in a row in girls tennis, fourth consecutive in boys soccer and second straight in golf, which has also won four in the last six years.
"Year in and year out you've got a good group of kids that come through that really have devoted themselves to a sport or two and over time become pretty good at it,'' said Sam Fox, who guided the Irish to back-to-back boys soccer titles.
"I think you saw that with this year's baseball team as well as the soccer team. Those seniors have been playing together ever since they were in third and fourth grade. That's been very beneficial to the kids who have come up through the Catholic system. I think it's because the kids have played together for such a long time.''
Gillispie said there are several other factors for the Irish's success that are immeasurable.
"It doesn't hurt having [baseball coach] Bill Mehle, [boys basketball coach] Bill McClanahan and [boys and girls cross county and track coach] Scott Welch, guys who have been here a long time leading those programs,'' said the Catholic AD.
"They have almost 40 years combined in the same sport. The support of the school and principal [Debra Sullivan], those things are keys. The school has high expectations in the classroom and that boils right over to the athletic programs.''
Catholic will receive a permanent plaque signifying its achievement as well as custody for a year of a traveling trophy.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.