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Piligian is Positively Praiseworthy

May 4, 2016 | Upper School News, US Athletics

ChdVlV8UUAAOXL8For the second year in a row a Mount Vernon coach has earned the title of North Fulton’s Most Positive Girls Coach of the year. This year Head Varsity Cross Country Coach, Gary Piligian has won the award. Commonly referred to by his students as ‘Gary’, in just two years Coach Piligian has grown the team roster from 30 to 60 athletes.
Among a group of nearly 2,000 nominees, Coach Piligian will be formally recognized at the North Fulton Positive Athlete Georgia awards dinner May 11 at Perimeter Church in Johns Creek.  
That evening Positive Athlete organizers will honor Coach Piligan and read why he this year’s award winner….
Gary Piligian, a former Wall Street investment banker, avid marathon runner, and now math teacher and cross country coach connects with kids on a level that is positively inspiring. Bringing real world experience to his AP Statistics, on-level Statistics and Precalculus classes, students say he is one of the best teachers they have or will ever have. Taking that same commitment to the cross country trails, Gary has created a culture of commitment, camaraderie, and unparalleled success on our team. Since he took over the program in 2013, the team has grown from 30 students to nearly 60! And while the number of runners has increased, so has the level of success. Using data, like a statistician, Gary keeps and tracks meticulous records of each athlete–pushing them to continuously reach for their PR as well as teaching them the value of progress.
What we find most outstanding about Gary is the way he seeks out and amplifies the strengths of each and every athlete. For example, the day after each meet (often on a Sunday when he could be resting and having personal time), he sends out tweets with pictures calling out each runner and highlighting their successes. He also sends out a weekly email to the runners and parents, with detailed accounts of the meet, a spreadsheet of stats, and accolades for outstanding performance. Additionally, at the end of the season during the team banquet, he gives out awards to runners with specific details about how he/she stood out from the pack, overcame challenges, or simply were inspiring teammates to one other! Gary Piligian exemplifies the qualities of positive coach, one his athletes will remember for a lifetime.
Mount Vernon Girls Head Varsity Basketball Coach Sharon Burnette received the award in 2015.
The Positive Athlete organization was created by Scott Pederson and Hines Ward, a two-time Super Bowl winner who spent 14 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After beginning in Pittsburgh, Positive Athlete now awards students in North Fulton, north and south Atlanta, north Georgia and Cobb and Gwinnett county high schools.
The Positive Athlete Awards were created to highlight high school athletes that show excellence in their respective sports and characteristics of an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, compassion, the ability to admit imperfections and to view the team as more important than the individual.
For more on the program, visit them online at georgia.positiveathlete.org.
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