On Wednesday morning, when classes were cancelled at Cheshire High due to a snow day, Cheshire boys lacrosse coach Rich Pulisciano decided to go to his office to get caught up on some work.
When he logged on to his computer he was surprised to be greeted with an email indicating that the National High School Athletic Coaches Association had selected Pulisciano as a finalist for National Boys Lacrosse Coach of the Year.
“I’m not going to lie, yes, I was pleasantly surprised,” Pulisciano said. “But I was also very happy for our program here at Cheshire High school. We have done some amazing things here over the years and we’re very proud.”
Eight finalists from across the nation will be honored during the NHSACA National Coach of the Year Awards banquet, which will take place at the NHSACA national convention at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on June 27. The highlight of the banquet will be the naming of the NHSACA national coach of the year in 19 recognized sports categories.
“I’m very honored to have been selected for this outstanding award,” Pulisciano said. “To be recognized on the national level is really something special and not only for me but for our school, program, town and state.
“I would also add that this award goes out to all my staff as well. From the guys that were with me when I first took over in 1998 to the present. We all share a piece of this award.”
Pulisciano is coming off an impressive season where the Rams finished 17-6 and advanced to the 2017 CIAC Class L final where Cheshire lost 16-3 to Darien. Pulisciano and the Rams won CIAC titles in 2002 (Division I) and in 2010 (Class L). He has a 248-155 career coaching record.
“This is a great honor, not only for Rich, but for the entire Cheshire lacrosse program.,” Cheshire athletic director Steve Trifone said. “It speaks volumes about Rich and his dedication to our student-athletes.
“It is great for the entire athletic program anytime one of your coaches is recognized at a national level.”
According to a prepared statement from the NHSACA, Pulisciano was nominated for this national honor by Connecticut’s high school coaches’ association (Connecticut High School Coaches Association). Pulisicano’s selection was based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years, and winning percentage.
The NHSACA also stated the nominees and finalists are evaluated by experts in the field of coaching using a sport-specific rubrics to assign points in each category. The National High School Athletic Coaches Association is the oldest coaches association in the nation formed by coaches, for coaches, and has been recognizing national coaches of the year since 1978.