CoW: Mike Palmieri

This week, the Carolina Panthers have selected Mike Palmieri, Head Coach at Mallard Creek High School, as 2010's sixth Coach of the Week.

The Carolina Panthers High School Coach of the Week program recognizes high school coaches who, through their hard work and dedication to young people, have made a difference in the lives of their players, school, and community. This program also provides high schools with financial assistance to help maintain and upgrade their football program.

While a handful of coaches can claim to have built high school football programs from the ground up, not many can claim to have put their schools on the radar nationally within 4 years. In his first year, Coach Palmieri led his team, full of underclassmen, to a 1-10 finish. Four years later, Mallard Creek has clinched two I-Meck Conference titles and is currently undefeated in the last week of Conference play for the 2010 regular season. In the last two years, Coach Palmieri's teams have even received National recognition.

Making such an immense impact on the field solicits an investigation of what Palmieri is doing to inspire such a transformation. While still residing in southern Florida, Palmieri flew back and forth to attend perspective student nights and booster club meetings, quickly becoming a spokesperson for Mallard Creek before a football program even existed. According to Karen McKaig, Palmieri "created a ‘Mallard Creek' identity in the players before the school even started making them wear all gray and navy clothes to workouts…His confidence and pride carried over to the team, student, and the whole community. Coach Palmieri and his team have been the catalyst for our school's newfound spirit as well as the community beyond the school." Having to make tough decisions came as quickly as the football program did for the Mallard Creek coach, yet he continued to stand for his principals and code of conduct, presenting a "take it or leave it" mentality to players and parents. As players bought in, the team excelled with Palmieri leading the way.

However, Palmieri's commitment did not end as his players began to graduate and look to play at the next level, spending countless hours networking, calling coaches, and making Highlight CDs to give them the opportunity to do so. During his time at Mallard Creek, Palmieri has seen around 15 of his players get the opportunity to play in some capacity from the Junior College to Division I level.

In recognition of Coach Palmieri, Carolina Panthers charities will donate $1,000 to Mallard Creek High School's athletic department. In addition, Coach Palmieri and the rest of this year's selected coaches will be honored with an on-field presentation during the Panthers last regular season home game versus the Arizona Cardinals on December 19, 2010. At that time, the 2010 coach of the Year will be announced and the winning coach will receive an additional $2,000 grant for his school's athletic department.

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