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Newburgh School Unit’s Paz honored with Excelsior Award NEWBURGH — Newburgh School District Unit member Mike Paz represents the best in CSEA. Paz is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Excelsior Award, an honor that CSEA and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association present annually to a CSEA member who promotes and fosters athletic spirit in his or her local school district. Paz traveled with family and friends in late November to Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, where NYSPHAA officials presented him with the Excelsior Award during halftime of the Section I state football finals, where Paz’s Newburgh Goldbacks played Jamestown. A video tribute detailing Paz’s history with Newburgh athletics played on the jumbotron amidst cheers from Goldback fans. “Mike has shown extraordinary dedication to the students of Newburgh through his longtime involvement in high school athletics,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “His loyalty and commitment to Newburgh athletics demonstrates the positive role so many CSEA members play in building strong communities.” A student athlete while attending Newburgh Free Academy, Paz has spent the past 34 years as a district maintenance worker, a duty he balanced with coaching gigs with the varsity basketball and football teams. Six years ago, Paz took on the job of equipment manager for Newburgh athletics. In the community, he has spearheaded several summer camps through local recreation departments that allow budding athletes to sharpen their skills. In recent years, it hasn’t been unusual to get a glimpse of Paz on televised sporting events, as he served as acting chief inspector until recently for pro boxing and pro wrestling in New York state. Paz is quick to earn kudos Excelsior Award recipient Mike Paz has a long history with all of Newburgh athletics, though basketball is his passion. He is a longtime assistant varsity basketball coach at Newburgh Free Academy. from his Newburgh athletics counterparts. “I have found Mike’s dedication to our students and community to be among the best I have ever witnessed,” said Newburgh Athletic Director Jason Semo. “Mike is respected by the entire student body, coaching staff and community.” Paz said the experience on the field at the Carrier Dome was one to remember, describing it as “a fantastic time for my family, friends and myself.” “It is an honor to receive the award and I appreciate all the support of my family, friends and the Newburgh School District,” Paz said. “The student athletes make all of my work the most fun.” — Jessica Ladlee In addition to his coaching duties, Mike Paz serves as the Newburgh School district’s athletic equipment manager. Paz, right, works with boxing and wrestling greats during his tenure as an appointed state acting chief inspector for professional boxing and wrestling. Mike Paz, left, celebrates with Newburgh Free Academy’s Varsity Basketball team following the team’s victory as Section 9 champions. February 2015 The Work Force 13


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