Park Ridge football coach posthumously honored

Park Ridge High School football coach in was honored for National Coaches Day, but unfortunately, he passed away just weeks ago. (Scott Curkin)

A high school football coach in New Jersey was honored for National Coaches Day, but unfortunately, he passed away just weeks ago.

Park Ridge High School football coach Gary Mioli died unexpectedly on September 12th. Mioli was just beginning his 24th year of coaching at Park Ridge High.

Students, officials and community members cast votes in support of Mioli's National Coaches Day award program nomination.

Mioli stood out from the many other qualified coaches and was honored with the award on Thursday.

NFP Sports, a franchise specializing in high impact high school fundraising programs, revived the National Coaches Day holiday established by President Richard Nixon's proclamation in 1972.

The National Coaches Day awards program pays tribute to outstanding coaches who make a positive impact in the lives of amateur athletes.

"We know how important coaches are to their players and their communities, and we wanted to create a way for people to publicly show their gratitude," said James Thomson, NFP Sports co-founder. "Few people realize it, but President Nixon created an official National Coaches Day on October 6, 1972 and too little has been done to recognize coaches on their big day. We have taken it upon ourselves to help establish this awards program and an official white house petition to effectively revive this important national holiday."

A special ceremony was held at Park Ridge High School where the school was presented with an official plaque, a banner for the school's gymnasium, and a $2,500 grant to the Park Ridge High School athletics department.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to Coach Mioli's family and the entire Park Ridge community," said Thomson. "After speaking with school officials to learn more about Coach Mioli, we have no doubt that Coach Mioli was the kind of coach, leader, and role model from whom every parent hopes their child can learn life lessons. We are proud to honor him as the first ever National Coaches Day award winner."

NFP Sports has created an official petition to establish the October 6th National Coaches Day as a nationally recognized holiday. The petition must generate 150 signatures within 30 days to be searchable on the whitehouse.gov website. To cross the threshold and require a response from President Obama, the petition must reach 100,000 within 30 days.

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