Kansas is still going to play and Sunkist will still be sprayed all over the locker room.
That was Patty Mioli’s message to the students of Park Ridge High School Friday afternoon during a fall pep rally that also served as an award presentation for her late husband, Gary, who was honored posthumously with the National Coaches Day Award by NFP Sports.
NFP Sports co-founder James Thomson applauded the Park Ridge community for casting more than 1,300 votes in two days that helped solidify Mioli’s recognition as their national award winner.
On top of the voting process, NFP Sports also recognized Mioli’s ability as a role model, leader and well-respected coach.
Mioli’s players were the ones that saw those characteristics on a daily basis.
“Coach was one of the most inspirational people we’ve ever known,” senior two-way lineman Eric Tis said. “He was a role model to all of us, a father figure and coach more than anything. He’s going to be miss.”
“It was easily the best moment of our lives,” Tis said. “When the song by Kansas came on, it was just an awesome moment. Everyone was in tears of joy about how great of a man he was.”
The team will take the field tonight against Saddle Brook, hoping to improve to 3-1. But most importantly, the Owls will be out there playing for their beloved coach.
“Every play, every snap and every game this season is for him,” senior tight end and defensive end Zak Katz said. “So we just have to keep that in mind and go out and play.”