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Sat, Dec. 14

Yavapai's Pantalione receives NJCAA Service Award

Yavapai soccer head coach Mike Pantalione.

Yavapai soccer head coach Mike Pantalione.

Yavapai College head soccer coach Mike Pantalione was awarded one of the highest honors by the National Junior College Athletic Association on Friday - the NJCAA Service Award.

The service award is given to those who have made significant contributions to junior college athletics on a national level for an extended period of time.

"The award is certainly an honor," Pantalione said. "It is a direct result of being a member of several committees, including the JUCO weekly soccer poll. I just wanted to help junior college soccer create a more professional approach and a positive image."

Pantalione continued, "I am very grateful to Yavapai College for employing me for such a long period of time and allowing me to administer a soccer program the way a program should be administered."

Since 1996, Pantalione has served as the national chair for the NJCAA men's weekly soccer poll - the only coaches association poll for NJCAA sports -taking over for the only other national chair, former head soccer coach of Montgomery-Rockville (Md.) Tom Bichy, who served for over 30 years.

"Credit must be given to the area chairs around the country, some of which have been with me from the beginning," Pantalione said. 'I certainly have them to thank for this honor."

Pantalione is a 35-year member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and is also the National Chair for the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame Committee. Previously, he served as vice-president of the NJCAA Coaches Association in addition to numerous years as region director for the JUCO All-America committee.

Pantalione enters his 24th season as Yavapai's first and only head soccer coach, compiling an overall record of 496-40-18, which includes 67 conference, region, district and national titles. He was inducted into the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. In 1995, he was selected as the recipient of the NSCAA/NISOA National Merit Honor awarded to one college coach (2-year or 4-year/men's or women's) whose reputation is recognized as praiseworthy, and reflective of the highest standards of professional and ethical behavior.

Additional honors include seven NJCAA and five NSCAA National Coach of the Year Awards along with being named NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year 14 times.

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