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GAC's Schofield named strength coach of the year

As Gary Schofield walked through a crowded banquet hall, a man grabbed his arm. Schofield, the director of sports performance training at Greater Atlanta Christian School, stopped as the man began to talk to him.

"I hope you know your job right now is the best there is. You're touching people's lives," Schofield recalled of the man's words.

It would be a flattering compliment from anyone. But those words came from Al Vermeil, the brother of former NFL coach Dick Vermeil.

Al Vermeil is the most recognized person in strength and conditioning. He has championship rings from three different professional sports teams.

"Wow, he's a legend in our field," Schofield said.

To meet Vermeil was icing on the cake for Schofield, who was named recently as the National Strength and Conditioning Association Coach of the Year. Schofield was honored for his dedication to the advancement of the strength and conditioning profession.

"It's very humbling and very cool," Schofield said. "When I heard about it, I did't know how big it really was."

Schofield was nominated for the award last fall. He had to send in information about his certifications, about the strength program at GAC and how it's run.

He got a letter this spring from the committee saying he was the strength and conditioning coach of the year.

"I didn't realize the NHSA was a big award," Schofield said.

In addition to his job at GAC, he is also the Georgia director for strength and conditioning. Schofield regularly holds state and Southeast clinics for strength and conditioning and speaks regularly at conferences and clinics.

Schofield and GAC picked up another honor when the Norcross private school was the recipient of the Strength of America award under Schofield. The award, which was handed out to 14 schools this summer, represents the gold standard in strength and conditioning by the NSCA and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. GAC also won the Strength of America award in 2010.

"It's an incredibly humbling experience," Schofield said. "It's a reflection on me, but it's really the school and administration I work for. And the students I work with and the people I've learned from. This is not an award for me, but for the people I've been around."