Upward honored by his peers Coach Mark Upward by David Lias The Vermillion Tanagers returned home from the S.D. Class A State Gymnastics tournament in Huron last weekend with more than second place honors.
Head coach Mark Upward helped guide the Vermillion gymnasts to their strong finish in the competition. In turn, the young athletes watched as Upward was honored by his peers as one of the best gymnastic coaches in South Dakota.
Upward is the recipient of the 2002 Coaches Leadership Award. The honor takes on a special significance when one considers that he is only the fifth coach to receive annual award from the South Dakota Gymnastics Judges Association.
The association first began honoring coaches with the special recognition in 1998. The SDGJA honors a coach for being an outstanding role model in displaying good sportsmanship and fine work ethics for gymnasts, parents, coaches and the public.
Upward has been coaching gymnastics for 20 years for Vermillion High School. During that time, he has coached several state championship teams and individuals.
Upward�s involvement in gymnastics started when he enrolled in the tumbling/gymnastics class at The University of South Dakota as a physical education major.
After graduation from USD, he received his master�s degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. His first gymnastics coaching job was in McClouth, KS as head coach of the high school boys� gymnastics team.
Following that brief stint in Kansas, Upward moved to Vermillion to teach physical education and coach the high school team.
His reasons for continuing to coach include the feeling he gets when one of his gymnasts, as he describes it, �suddenly� masters a move or routine after hundreds of unsuccessful attempts.
�I want the gymnastics experience to be a positive one for the gymnast, the parents, the fans, the judges and myself as a coach,� Upward said.
Upward and his wife, Marianne, are the parents of four daughters, Teisha, Terri, Tyra and Tristen.