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Gary Palmisano Print E-mail
The following was included in the 1995 men's soccer media guide as a tribute to former Falcon player and coach Gary Palmisano. He passed away in December 1994, and was inducted to the BG Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.

Bowling Green State University, the surrounding community and the entire soccer world lost a valued friend last December when long-time Falcon head coach Gary Palmisano unexpectedly passed away.

Not only will Gary be remembered as one of the legendary coaches in BGSU's storied athletic history, he will be remembered as one of hte most respected, admired and loved individuals to have ever been associated with the department.

Gary's cheerful smile and optimistic nature could brighten anyone's day. Bowling Green was certainly lucky to have him as long as it did. And he will be greatlyl missed by everyone who knew him, especially his family, including wife Jean-Marie Wolf and daughter Caroline.

Since coming to BGSU from Commack, New York as a student in 1970, it seemed Gary was destined to accomplish great things at the University. first as a player, then as a coach.

"Palmo," as he was affectionately called by those close to him, compiled a 15-3-2 record as a goalkeeper for the Falcons in the early 1970's, helping his squads to NCAA Tournament berths in 1972 and 1973. He began his coaching career in 1975 as a graduate assistant at BGSU under Mickey Cochrane, a person Gary admired dearly.

He was then promoted to part-time assistant in 1976 and held that position until being named head coach two years later after Cochrane retired.

Gary worked very hard in trying to carry on the BGSU soccer legacy started by Cochrane in 1965. And he succeeded!

Gary helped establish the Falcons as one of the top teams in the Great Lakes Region, known nationally for its strength. In his 16 seasons as BG's field general, he led the Brown and Orange to a 172-97-25 record, including a combined mark of 44-10-4 over his last 3 campaigns.

Ten of his teams produced double-digit win totals. His 1983 and 1991 squads each won a school record 16 matches.

The program enjoyed one of its most successful seasons ever in 1992 under Gary's guidance. The Falcons regisered a 15-2-1 ledger and earned their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years.

BG finished ninth in the final Gatorade/ISAA poll that year and climbed as high as third (highest in school history) earlier in the season. The Falcons also ended the year ranked 12th in the Soccer America poll and concluded the regular season as the top-ranked team in the region -- a position they held for the last eight weeks of the year.

Gary was named regional, state or league "Coach of the Year" a combined nine times. One of the driving forces behind soccer becoming a sanctioned sport in the Mid-American Conference in 1993, he tutored five All-Americans and four Academic All-Americans over his head coaching tenure.

More than just a masterful teacher, Gary was a visionary. He had a dream the people of Bowling Green would have a perfect venue for enjoying soccer and that Falcon players would have an excellent setting to showcase their skills.

Through his hard work, dedication and persistence, Gary's dream was realized in the fall of 1995 when the stadium seating project on the west side of the Mickey Cochrane Soccer Complex was completed. The facility facelift was just one of many upgrades to the park initiated by Gary.

His commitment to the BG program will certainly have everlasting effects.

Gary, who was responsible for bringing the USYSA Region II Junior Olympic Development Camp to BG, also worked hard in promoting soccer on the international level. During the spring of 1993, he joined the World Cup staff as Director of Logistics and Competition for the Detroit site. Shortly thereafter he was promoted to Director of Operations and Deputy Venue Executive Director.

Leading England and Germany out onto the playing field for the finals of the USA Cup in 1993 at the Silverdome was perhaps Gary's crowning soccer moment.

As former BGSU athletic director Jack Gregory was quoted as saying about Gary in Jack Carle's Sentinel-Tribune column: "He was a very, very special person. He wasn't just a soccer coach and not just another member of the department -- he was a person everyone loved."

When you think of Gary, you are reminded of family, tradition, his infectious laughter, dedication, forgiveness and first-class nature. As Carle wrote, Gary was truly "one of the good guys."
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