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'Mr. Parkview'
Bostick retiring as AD from power he built

Karl Bostick isn't sure what he'll do with all of the stuff he has in his office.

As a coach and athletic director at Parkview for more than 20 years, Bostick has accumulated plenty of awards and honors.

He has a box full of plaques and team pictures of his state championship cross country and soccer teams. One picture features a former NFL kicker, another a Major League Soccer player.

They'll likely stay in the box for a while until Bostick decides to travel down memory lane.

Bostick will spend the rest of this week packing up his belongings as he heads into retirement. After 27 years at the Lilburn school, Bostick is stepping down as the school's athletic director.

The 58-year-old leaves behind quite a legacy not only as a coach, but as athletic director. During his 24 years as AD, Parkview won 44 state championships, including 10 won by Bostick's cross country and soccer teams.

"He led that program really as an athletic director and as a coach. All those state championships he won early on set the tone for Parkview," said former Norcross AD Mike Emery, now the athletics, activities and community schools director for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

"It's unbelievable when you look at that number. I've done this for 20 something years and I didn't get a state championship until the last couple of years. To do what he's done, and in so many sports, it's unbelievable."

Building a winner

Bostick grew up in Piscataway, N.J., and found his way to Georgia thanks to a college brochure his mother brought home from the library.

One of six children, Bostick thought moving away from home would be a great way for him to get a fresh start and live on his own. He fell in love with pictures of the campus of Berry College in Rome and decided that was the place for him.

After graduating with a double major in biology and physical education in 1971, Bostick took his first job at Towers High School in DeKalb County.

Bostick coached the soccer team and his second year was offered the cross country position even though he knew nothing about running.

"I believed in the Satchel Paige theory of why run anywhere when you can walk," Bostick joked. "But my second year at Towers they needed someone to do it. They said, 'Oh, it's really easy just send them outside to run and go home.' My competitive nature, I couldn't do that. I loved the kids that were involved with it. I just really got into it."

By 1980, Bostick led the boys cross country team to the state championship, but was ready to leave the area.

He came to Gwinnett County looking for a job and applied at a new school called Brookwood High School, but never heard back from the Snellville school.

Bostick went a little further down Five Forks-Trickum Road and was hired at Parkview, a young school in Lilburn.

More than 25 years later, Brookwood and Parkview are two of the top athletic programs in Gwinnett County. The Broncos have done fine without Bostick as a teacher and coach, but Parkview might not be where it is today if it wasn't for him.

"I don't think we would have the same success we had without him," said Parkview assistant principal and former soccer coach Mark Albertus. "You don't find a coach being at a school that long for 20 something years. Just that consistency and hiring good teachers and coaches is important."

In the first four years of the school, Parkview won one state championship in girls tennis. In just his third year at the school, Bostick brought home the school's second state title and the first of 10 he coached.

He also became athletic director in 1984 and slowly built Parkview into the state power it is today.

Bostick's cross country teams continued to be successful at the state level, winning titles in 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1993. At the same time he also made Parkview into one of the top boys soccer programs in the county.

"When I started as athletic director I always felt really guilty. My teams were the only teams that were winning state championships in cross country back in the early and late '80s," Bostick said. "My soccer teams were getting to the finals and it was '93 when we won our first one, but it still was that environment very, very few state championships."

That began to change in the early '90s when Bostick hired Chuck Mize to be the school's football coach and also brought in Cecil Flowe and Rick Creed.

Some of Bostick's fondest memories are of winning his first state title in cross country and soccer. He won four more in soccer in 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2001 and had a 302-60-24 record at Parkview.

But it was the school's first football title that sticks out in his mind.

Parkview was expecting to play Brookwood in the 1997 state championship game, which would be hosted by the Broncos. But when Brookwood lost to Tift County in the semifinals that left Bostick, the school and the Touchdown Club scrambling to prepare for a title game.

On Monday of the championship week, he was talking to his wife on the phone when his chest tightened and his arms went numb. He thought he was having a heart attack from all the stress, but it turned out his gall bladder needed to be removed.

In the end, all of the hard work was worth it. Parkview won its first football state championship and the titles began to snowball from there.

"This community and the touchdown club and the school, everything just came together," Bostick said. "It was absolutely incredible to see a community come together. I'll never forget the way it came together to be able to host and then to win the game."

Champions live here

In Parkview's cafeteria is the school's wall of pride. It features state championships banners, trophies and pictures of title winners.

Over the last 10 years the wall has grown immensely.

Parkview has won at least one team state championship every year since 1993. In the 25 years with Bostick as athletic director, the school won a state title in 21 of those years.

While Bostick didn't coach every one of the school's 44 state championship teams, he did have a hand in all of them.

"I think he played a huge part in it," said Mark Whitley, who has been a coach at Parkview since 1991 and will replace Bostick as athletic director in the fall. "He was the one involved in hiring people and his tutelage and understanding of people and bringing in the right people.

"Even though he didn't coach football, baseball or swimming, him bringing in the right people and in the right position and supporting them allowed them to be successful."

Parkview's success has even been recognized on the state and national level. The school has won two Class AAAAA Director's Cups, awarded yearly to the program with the most cumulative success in the postseason.

The school was even honored by Sports Illustrated in 2006 as the seventh best high school athletic program in the country.

Major League Baseball players like Jeff Francoeur and Jeff Keppinger have walked the halls of Parkview along with NFLers Matt and Jon Stinchcomb and Brett Conway.

Bostick coached Conway on the soccer team along with U.S. National team member Josh Wolff and Major League Soccer players Jason and Justin Moore.

While Bostick is proud of the players that have gone on to have successful professional careers, he's also fond of the former players that have come back to coach.

Guys like James Tigue in cross county and Mark Albertus and Tracy Couch in soccer have returned to Parkview at some point to lead successful teams.

"It was great playing for him," Albertus said, who played from 1988-91. "You knew where you stood. He didn't play favorites. He put the best team on the field and he was passionate. He was passionate about the game and about teaching young men life lessons."

Bostick's influence was strong on one former player in particular - Mark Karen.

The 1990 Parkview grad just completed his first year as athletic director at North Gwinnett. Karen also coaches cross country and soccer, just like Bostick.

"He was my cross country and soccer coach, my science teacher and my athletic director, so he had a big influence on my life," Karen said. "I do what I do today because of him."

Giving everything you've got

Bostick is ready to graduate after 54 years of education.

While he won't have an office at the school anymore he'll still have a place to call home at Parkview.

The field where he spent so many hours as a soccer coach will bear his name. The football and soccer stadium will be called Karl Bostick Field at the Big Orange Jungle. A bronze plaque, entailing Bostick's accomplishments and what he meant to the school, will be placed in the press box.

"He's the epitome of Parkview and is Mr. Parkview," Albertus said. "He made Parkview a better place. He spent all that time on the field that it just seemed deserving."

It's a fitting honor for a man that put so much into a school on an athletic and personal level.

Not only did he help mold the lives of the kids he coached and taught at Parkview, he also watched his two daughters Kelly and Elizabeth grow up through Parkview.

Bostick plans to spend his first few months of retirement in Italy with his wife, Mary, who is retiring as a secretary at Trickum Middle School.

The two have rented an apartment in Florence for a month and will spend another four weeks traveling. Bostick plans to see an old friend from Towers High School in France and tour the greatest wine regions in Europe.

He also intends to spend plenty of time with his daughters and grandchildren and try to catch some Parkview sporting events here and there.

It's a different type of lifestyle for Bostick, but one he thinks he'll get used to quickly.

"People told me that when I retired from cross country and I wouldn't be able to walk away from it after 26 years," Bostick said.

"After soccer they said the same thing. You'll never be able to get away from it.

"I think when you feel you've done everything you can do - and not just everything you can do by success - you feel like you put your heart and soul in it, I think you can walk away from it."

SideBar: The Bostick File

· Former position: Retired athletic director at Parkview High School; also Panthers' boys cross country coach from 1981-1998 and boys soccer coach from 1981-2004.

· Age: 58

· Career record: 359-106-33 overall and 302-60-24 at Parkview

· Education: Graduated from Piscataway High School in New Jersey; earned bachelor's degree in biology and physical education from Berry College

· Noteworthy: Coached 10 state championship teams at Parkview High School - five in cross country and five in boys soccer; as the Panthers' athletic director was responsible for 44 of the school's 45 state titles; coached U.S. soccer national team member Josh Wolff and Major League Soccer players Jason and Justin Moore; boys soccer program set a Georgia High School Association state record by going 57 matches without a loss from 1993-95

· Family: Wife Mary; grown daughters Kelly and Elizabeth